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WHEN he left Hyderabad on January 31, this year, to lobby for the passage of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill in Parliament, 60- year- old Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhara Rao was confident he was leaving Andhra Pradesh to return to Telangana.

Ever since he formed the Telangana Rashtra Samithi ( TRS) party 13 years ago, KCR steadfastly pursued his goal of a separate state. Unfazed by sceptics, KCR relied on his rabble- rousing skills to stir separatists to fight for Telangana without any large- scale violent protest. He repeatedly stressed on self- rule and self- respect. Though he threatened to start a ' civil war' a few times, the protests never really spun out of control except for when some odd groups of students turned unruly.

KCR's abiding faith in the legislative process and his penchant to display Telangana traditions, accent and cuisine helped him make his campaign bigger and showcase the region's distinct identity.

Sonia Gandhi was among the first few that KCR won over. The UPA- I government, in 2004, pledged to grant Telangana statehood. However, the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy made sure it did not happen. Disappointed but undeterred, KCR switched sides from the Congress to the Telugu Desam Party ( TDP) in 2009. However, he his party could only win 10 Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats.

KCR stepped up his campaign after the sudden death of former Chief Minister Rajasekhara Reddy in September 2009.

KCR vowed to go on a fast unto death which made the UPA- II commit in December 2009 to set in motion the process to carve Telangana. He realised he had to make his group bigger to make Telangana a reality, so he made TRS a part of the pan regional Telangana Joint Action Committee.

And when Parliament passed the Bill, KCR lost no time in ' expressing special gratitude to Sonia Gandhi'.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Feb 22, 2014
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