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Street cauldron to House of people

B Suman, the MP; (below) G Kishore Kumar, the MLA

Hyderabad, May 18: Osmania University, the cradle of the student agitation for Telangana, can now boast of two nurturers for the “baby” due in two weeks.

Until a few months ago, Osmania’s B. Suman and G. Kishore Kumar were often accused of breaking the law for Telangana, bunking classes and hitting the streets to push for statehood.

After the results on Friday — just over a fortnight before Telangana is officially born — they became lawmakers: Suman an MP and Kumar an MLA. They were among four student leaders the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had fielded in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. The other two lost.

Osmania was the nerve-centre of students’ statehood protests besides Kakatiya University in Warangal. Both Suman and Kumar were long-time inmates in the Old PG Hostel on the Osmania campus.

“We had many students who became scientists, doctors, engineers and bankers from this hostel but this is the first time our student leaders have become lawmakers,” said B.S. Rao, a senior faculty member.

Suman trounced his Congress rival G. Vivek in the Peddapally Lok Sabha seat. Vivek, the son of former Union minister G. Venkatswamy and an industrialist, had switched to the Congress from the TRS just before the polls.

Suman had pitched the contest as a battle “between a man with Rs 100 crore (Vivek’s assets) and one with 100 cases”. “Over 100 cases were foisted on me by the YSR regime and subsequent Congress governments. I was also jailed, though many of the cases were withdrawn later,” Suman said today at a campus felicitation organised for him and Kumar.

Suman, a research scholar, had grabbed headlines earlier when he disrupted a meeting of the late chief minister Y.S.R Reddy at Osmania and chanted “Jai Telangana”.

Like Suman, Kumar, the new TRS MLA, had no easy fight: he trumped senior Congress leader and three-time MLA Damodar Reddy in the Tungaghurthy Assembly seat in Nalgonda district.

A research scholar in Osmania’s journalism and mass communication department, Kumar said he had a tough time campaigning as he lacked finances and feared that he may not be noticed much outside the campus.

For money, Kumar claimed he had to rely on contributions from fellow students. “My former schoolmates and university friends helped me from their pocket-money allowances,” said Kumar.

The other two student leaders of the TRS in the fray were P. Ravi and Rajaram Yadav, both in Assembly seats. Ravi, a former president of the Osmania joint action committee on the statehood movement, lost to the Congress in Khammam and Yadav to the Telugu Desam in Nizamabad.

TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao played down the 50 per cent success ratio of the party’s student leaders in the election saying they “have a lot to learn”.

Naidu base

Telugu Desam president and chief minister-elect of Andhra Pradesh N. Chandrababu Naidu today said he would make Vijayawada-Guntur his base for the next few months till a new capital is identified in the aftermath of Telangana’s formation.

“I will conduct most of my functions as chief minister from Guntur and not in Hyderabad, though for administrative convenience I will have a set-up in Hyderabad also,” Naidu said.