About 250,000 people attended a rally organised in this town by the newly-formed Telangana Rashtra Samithi, in support of a demand for a separate Telangana state, on Thursday evening.
The Simha Garjana (Roar of the Lion) was the first such massive meeting of the TRS, which was launched by former deputy speaker and former minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, to spearhead the movement for a separate Telangana state, comprising 10 districts of the region.
The rally turned out to be a roaring success, as people from all 10 Telangana districts, particularly from the northern districts of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Warangal, Khammam and Karimnagar, flooded the town with a population of just about 250,000.
People came from villages and other towns by lorries, buses, jeeps, vans, cars, two-wheelers and other modes of transport and converged at the sprawling SRR College grounds since morning. Huge banners, buntings and pink TRS flags adorned the town and the meeting venue.
The grounds overflowed much before Chandrasekhar Rao
arrived in a convoy of vehicles in the town almost two hours behind
The venue reverberated with slogans demanding a separate Telangana state and hailing the new "messiah" of Telangana.
Chandrasekhar Rao started from Hyderabad in the morning in a convoy of more than 500 vehicles, with thousands of enthusiastic supporters in tow. As he traversed the 170-km route, enthusiastic crowds stopped his convoy at around 30 places en route and accorded him a traditional welcome. His home town Siddipet was one place where he halted for a while.
He said that a separate state was the aspiration of the 30 million people of the resource-rich but neglected region.
Addressing wayside meetings at Siddipet and other places, a visibly-moved Chandrasekar Rao said that after sacrificing all posts and positions for a separate Telangana, he was ready to lay down even his life for the cause. "The only objective and destination of TRS was to achieve a separate Telangana," he told the people and urged them to rise above political affiliations and considerations and join the struggle.
He lambasted Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party president N
Chandrababu Naidu for the backwardness of the region, where the people lived
amid deprivation and utter poverty. He challenged Naidu to face him
in a by-election from Siddipet assembly
constituency. He also criticised Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress
leaders from the region for failing to take up the struggle for a separate state despite claims of espousing the cause.
Chandrasekhar Rao had launched the Telangana Rashtra Samithi on May 27, after resigning from the ruling Telugu Desam Party, deputy
speaker's post as well as state assembly membership.
ministers, ex-legislators, former MPs were among a host of political leaders
from different parties who attended the rally and sat on the dais. Former Congress minister S Santosh Reddy joined the TRS along with scores of supporters.
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shibu Soren, who came to address the rally, told newsmen that he was confident that the demand for Telangana could not be ignored. "The people of Telangana should be ready to fight and even
shed blood for the cause. It is the people's voice and the central and state governments have no choice but to heed it, " he said.
He recalled that the demand for a Jharkhand state had met with similar
opposition and resistance from vested interests and exploiters of the backward
region. "I am with the people of Telangana. I will keep coming here till their
dream is realised," he added.
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