Susham Swaraj was central to BJP’s support for Telangana

Sushma Swaraj with senior BJP leaders at a public meeting during the Telangana agitation in 2011.

Sushma Swaraj with senior BJP leaders at a public meeting during the Telangana agitation in 2011.   | Photo Credit: ; - NAGARA GOPAL

She supported Statehood movement in UPA I and II regimes

Former Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, who passed away on Tuesday night, was the face of BJP in its support to separate Telangana at the height of the Statehood movement in both UPA I and II regimes.

Though the national executive of BJP had adopted a resolution supporting separate Telangana and then party president Rajnath Singh had reflected the stand whenever the occasion demanded, it was Ms. Swaraj who took a proactive role in highlighting the urgency to concede the demand for Statehood. No wonder, she was among the few BJP leaders who were invited by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for a lunch at his house to seek the support of Opposition parties for smooth passage of the Bill on Statehood in Parliament next day.

Even die-hard supporters of integrated State from Andhra and Rayalaseema admitted that Ms. Swaraj played a key role in influencing the decision of Congress to concede the demand.

Besides her vocal support to separate Telangana at public meetings in Hyderabad or other parts of the region then, at least three speeches of Ms. Swaraj in the Lok Sabha stand out which depict her strong concern for the demand. In one of them, when TRS MPs K. Chandrasekhar Rao and Vijayashanti and eleven MPs of Congress from Telangana trooped into the well of Lok Sabha, Ms. Swaraj appealed to the Speaker to let the Prime Minister announce formation of the State. “I promise it will be supported by entire BJP and NDA constituents in the House”.

She shouted at the top of her voice that administration had come to a standstill in Andhra Pradesh. Firing of rubber bullets by police was the order of the day. The State was on the boil but the fire could be extinguished. The situation could be remedied.

It was her strident stand in support of separate Telangana that earned her the sobriquet ‘Chinnamma’ in political circles. At her final visit to Hyderabad as External Affairs Minister along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the inauguration of global entrepreneurship summit, the audience gave her an ovation when she began her speech identifying herself as ‘Telangana Chinnamma’.

The best tribute to the leader, as one leader explained, could perhaps be in recalling her appeal to people not to commit suicide when such incidents occurred due to delay in decision by the government. He also recalled how she assured at a press conference in Hyderabad to take the next step of ‘Sonia bashing’ if the demand was not met.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 3:13:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/susham-swaraj-was-central-to-bjps-support-for-telangana/article28873262.ece

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