Gummadi Vittal Rao, alias Gaddar, revolutionary poet and the eminent balladeer, is trying to cobble together an alternative to the established national and political parties for the 2019 General Elections. He has launched an initiative to support candidates in 120 constituencies of the southern states. “I think I share a common vision with the people I am trying to bring together,” the 71-year-old balladeer said in a meeting at Guntur.
The meeting was organized by the Chennai-based party, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi. He added that he would try to bring together the film stars Rajnikanth, Kamal Haasan, Pavan Kalyan and others, who have formed political parties in the recent past, under this umbrella.
Gaddar told the gathering that he sought to galvanize the youth, especially in the 25-35 age group, and encourage them to join politics for the establishment of social justice, Dalit rights, and social equality and to alleviate poverty. He said he planned to guide the country’s youth to bring about a change in society. That is his dream but he is worried about his health letting him down. However, he is still optimistic about being able to travel extensively to communicate with people his vision of social justice and eliminating poverty.
“My vision is long-term – not just to contest the coming election and become an MLA or MP, and then forget my duties for the next five years. If I feel it is necessary to achieve my objectives, I will launch a political party later,” Gaddar said. Several political parties, such as Telangana Jana Samiti, the forum of Telangana Mass and Social Organizations (TMAS) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), have invited Gaddar to join their party, but he has refused so far.
Gaddar said that AAP representative Priyanka Kakkar met the poet at his residence and sought either his support or leadership for their state unit. He stated that he would not join them, but if he felt right, he might support them. “I told them I have not yet decided when to launch a party, but it is true that I intend to do so. They invited me to attend a meeting of 2,000 AAP members in Hyderabad, and I agreed,’’ added Gaddar.
However, Gaddar said that his devotion to singing songs and speaking in favour of social justice and against inequality would continue till his last breath. He wants to be the catalyst for change in society, because even after 70 years of Independence, a significant section of society continues to be oppressed both socially and politically.
The balladeer will exercise his vote for the first time in the upcoming 2019 General Elections. There are speculations of Gaddar joining the Congress after his son’s recent entry into the party fold.
In October 2010, Gaddar launched Telangana Praja Front to fight for a separate Telangana state. He tried to gather support for the cause from writers, poets, Dalits and other oppressed communities but failed – although Telangana did eventually become a separate state.
Born into a Dalit family, Gaddar used to be a clerk in a bank. He left the job and went underground. He was an active member of People’s War Group for several years. He had then urged people to boycott elections.
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