A Political Mess Called Telangana: It’s Congress to blame
When important political decisions are made on the basis of ulterior electoral designs then what ensues is a mess. Today, Telangana is one such mess created out of sheer electoral miscalculations that is now boomeranging on its creators. What had once been a genuine mass movement of the people of Telangana, aimed at creating a separate state out of Andhra Pradesh, had been most callously left to degenerate into a political slugfest of the worst kind where no one looks to emerge the winner. The architect of this mess is the central leadership of the Congress which uncaged the tiger of Telangana only to reap few political dividends.
The creation of Telangana was an event just waiting to happen. It’s just an undoing of what had been done nearly 60 years ago in 1956 when the state of Andhra Pradesh was created merging the Nizam territories of Telangana with the newly created Andhra state. Hyderabad was made the capital of this newly created state. The people of Telangana never resigned to this merger and a passive movement for bifurcation of AP started which continued well into the 21st century. In 2004, the congress had made a promise to create Telangana state but it kept on sitting over the proposal till 2009 when suddenly the then Home Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram woke up to this issue and announced to begin the process for creation of Telangana. Honestly, the congress never meant it. It was just a political gimmick. Just few days later, when protests erupted in Andhra against the decision, the congress backtracked. Then, in July 2013, just months before the general election, the Congress Working Committee passed a unanimous resolution to bifurcate the state of AP and sent the proposal to the government for beginning the modalities.
What happened suddenly that changed the heart of the congress?
Actually, the seed for the creation of Telangana lies in the internal political dynamics of the congress party in AP. Here, after the demise of the YSR, his son Jagan Mohan Reddy had, about the same time in December 2009, started pushing for his claims on the chief minister’s throne and to put pressure on the party he broke away to form YSR congress. To deflect the issue and to take wind out of Jagan’s sail, the congress in Dec, 2009 declared to begin the process of creation of Telangana. However, after protests erupted in Seemandhra (the remaining Andhra Pradesh areas comprising coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions), the Congress dragged its feet. Thus, the reckless dabbling of the party in the affairs of Telangana had begun. However, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader K. Chandrashekhar Rao had licked the blood and he intensified the movement. Thus, between 2010 to 2013, many people died in the movement and many students immolated themselves for the cause of Telangana. Then suddenly in July, 2013, the announcement came from the Congress to form the Telangana State.
The real reason behind the decision is the political calculation of the congress to cut the support base of Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is poised to make Congress lick the dust in the coming elections. Reddy, who hails from Andhra had earlier supported the creation of Telangana in the hope that the state would be never created. Thus, on this issue, the Congress wishes to expose Reddy of his double standards and by doing so it tries to cut its losses in the Seemandhra region which returns 25 MPs in the parliament. At the same time, by creation of Telangana it hopes to win support of the TRS in the Lok Sabha election and eyes to sweep the 17 Lok Sabha seats of the Telangana region. Moreover, the congress also hopes to cut Chandrababu Naidu to size who, also coming from the Seemandhra region, had earlier given his written support to create Telangana. Now, by opposing the creation of Telangana both these politicians from Semmandhra have opened themselves to the attack that they are running with the hare and hunting with the hound.
Creation of small states is a necessity and there is no denial from the fact that Telangana, despite its resources and riches, has suffered at the hands of the rest of the Andhra and hence, creation of a separate state is the only authentic solution to its backwardness and exploitation. At the same time, the people of Seemandhra too have genuine concerns regarding revenue, economy, their employment opportunities and their claim on the Hyderabad. Hence, what was required was to do a proper home work and to try to build consensus by smart negotiations before embarking upon the complex issue of bifurcation which the congress didn’t do. It is obvious that in its zeal to plunder political dividends, the Congress implemented its Telangana policy by fits and starts. The Group of Ministers (GoM) that has now been created to look into the settlement of legal, economic and administrative issues is nothing else than putting the cart before the horse. With election round the corner it is for everyone to see what this GoM is able to achieve within this small period. Of course, the Telangana issue is going to be one among those many legacies of this government which the next government will have to deal with.
Today, the whole of AP is in real mess where no one has the clue for a solution. After the announcement of Telangana, the Seemandhra region has been thrown into the cauldron of violent agitations with no hope of an impending solution. No one knows how to put the tiger back into the cage. Today, the people speaking the same language and following same culture have been put face to face. Language and culture no longer are the sacred territories to keep people together; today people are willing to cross over their cultural-linguistic boundaries in search of better opportunities.
Krishna Kumar@ThoughtPourri 2013