By Dasari Sreenivas
Sushma Swaraj, the name is like an oasis in the desert for Telanganites. Whenever she raised her voice in support of Telangana statehood, it was like a breeze of freedom for the hearts of Telanganites. Her name was very much associated with the Telangana movement. This bond only grew stronger when she supported Gulf workers in crisis. During the struggle for statehood, she called upon the youth in the state and asked them not to commit suicide, but fight to achieve it, and carved a niche for herself in their hearts. Sushmaji played a key role in the support of Telangana statehood, when the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation -2014 Bill was tabled in Parliament in February 2014.
The iron lady of the BJP is credited with introducing Mr Chandrasekhar Rao to the corridors of power in Delhi and helped him in his journey to achieve a separate Telangana state. When Telangana MPs Mr Chandrasekhar Rao and Vijayashanti raised slogans in the Well of the House, it was Sushma Swaraj who stood in support of them. She highlighted the pathetic conditions in the backward regions of united Andhra Pradesh in the Lok Sabha. With her exceptional oratory skills, Sushma Swaraj dominated the proceedings of Parliament on several occasions. Perhaps, it was her oratory skills that Parliament heard the voice of Telangana.
During the decades-long Telangana movement, no leader from the national parties except for Sushma Swaraj and Prakash Jawadekar who lent a ear for a separate statehood.
Though Sushma Swaraj did not have any connection with Telangana, she sincerely and with total conviction worked in support of a separate statehood.
After the three-phased movement for Telangana statehood, the UPA government passed the Bill and created the 29th state in June 2014. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi is considered as Peddamma of Telangana, while Sushma Swaraj called herself Chinnamma of the newly carved state.
Sushmaji’s last visit to Telangana was during the Assembly election campaign in November 2018. In her election campaign, she lambasted Mr Chandrasekhar Rao’s family rule and said, “It was betraying the very objective of the Telangana movement.”
In November 2017, Sushma Swaraj participated in the Global Economic Summit (GES) and shared the dais with Ms Ivanka Trump. Speaking on the occasion, Sushmaji said, “I have always enjoyed the affection of the Telanganites. They call me Chinnamma.”
Sushmaji was always just a tweet away for those in need. Whenever any Telanganites working in the Gulf countries called her for help, she would instantly respond and extend her helping hand. There are several instances where due to the intervention of Sushmaji workers held up in the Gulf nations were rescued. She also took measures to bring back the bodies of those who had died in these countries.
Telangana will always remember her as their Chinnamma.