In the wee hours of November 30, hours before voting for the Telangana Assembly elections was to begin, a large contingent of around 500 armed personnel of the Andhra Pradesh Police bulldozed a gate of the Nagarjuna Sagar dam on the Krishna river, which flows between the two states, occupied the dam infrastructure and released water from the reservoir towards Andhra Pradesh.
As the Telangana Police in Nalgonda district registered a case against Andhra police personnel for allegedly trespassing on the dam, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee chief A Revanth Reddy put a political spin on the incident, claiming that it was “staged” to rouse the sentiments of Telangana voters ahead of polling. “The BRS (Bharat Rashtra Samithi) did this drama to stoke sentiments of Telangana voters, by trying to show that only KCR (Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao) can protect the state,” Reddy said.
As per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, the operational control of the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam over the Krishna river — which straddles the districts of Nalgonda in Telangana.
Towards the last leg of the statehood agitation, between 2009 and 2014, the students of the university had spearheaded a chain of protests and mobilised support, with the pressure finally leading to the UPA-II government passing the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill in January 2014.
In the elections held months later, K Chandrashekar Rao, the most visible face of the Telangana movement, was voted to power and has been the Chief Minister since. However, on the campus, the nostalgia about KCR’s role in the agitation has waned, with student distress rising over the frequently cancelled government recruitment exams, the creeping maximum age limit for many of these, the lack of jobs, the “shrinking space” for dissent, as well as the state of the university’s infrastructure.