TRS attracting retired bureaucrats more than any other party

While bureaucrats joining the main political parties is not a new phenomenon, the trend of babus taking the political plunge to turn lawmakers or be part of the think-tank across the political spectrum is becoming more pronounced in Andhra Pradesh in the run-up to the elections.

Heralding this renewed political interest among several bureaucrats this time is the Telangana movement which apparently found resonance across various sections of society though others like K. Raju, who opted for voluntary retirement, preferred to sail with national parties like the Congress.

Mr. Raju, who implemented MGNREGS as Principal Secretary, Rural Development, says he joined the Congress despite the allegations of corruption and negative public perception because he was convinced of Rahul Gandhi’s sincerity to work for the poor and democratise the party. “Cleaning up the party of corrupt and vested interests and working for the poor and marginalised sections are parallel efforts,” he says.

Mr. Raju, who heads the AICC SC Cell, however, has no interest in contesting the election.

A unique feature standing out this time is the way the TRS is attracting retired bureaucrats to its fold more than any other party.

Surprisingly, not all of them are natives of Telangana.

For instance, retired IAS officers A.K. Goel and S. Chellappa, who are TRS politburo members, hail from Haryana and Madurai respectively.

What drew both of them to the TRS was their solidarity for the cause of Telangana.

“The Congress, TDP, BJP and CPI worked for Telangana but K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s party was more like a caravan solely meant for Telangana and I chose to be part of it.

The movement attracted professionals from different fields,” Mr. Goel said.

Another officer K.V. Ramanachari, who also joined the TRS, says: I joined the party to realise my dream. Now that Telangana is a reality, my efforts will be to rebuild Telangana.

Mr. Chari, who took part in the 1969 Telangana movement, knew KCR well since his student days.

Having seen Telangana districts closely and their backwardness during his posting as Sub-Collector and Collector for 15 years, Mr. Goel deduced that Telangana’s poverty was linked to its dryland rural geography.

“Telangana is similar to Haryana before it was carved out of Punjab. I took part in the agitation for a separate Haryana as a student,” he recalls.

Dr. Chellappa, former Education Secretary, who prepared a paper on education in Telangana, believes experts should not shun politics as their counsel would be of immense help to development of a State.

Lakshminarayana, retired IAS officer, who joined the Telugu Desam, feels a strong regional party like TDP with a proven track record can build a socialist Telangana.

Predicting that regional parties would play an important role in strengthening the federal spirit, he says he is ready to take a plunge into electoral politics if the party leadership asks him to do.

Welcoming the trend of bureaucrats making forays into politics, Jayaprakash Narayana, who set the trend by giving up his civil services career to build a movement for people centric governance and then launching the Lok Satta Party, says civil servants with their vast experience and deep understanding of societal issues will further enrich politics for public good.

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