– V.N. Balakrishna | February 03, 2014
Ahmedabad | With Andhra Pradesh Assembly rejecting the Telangana Bill last Thursday the fat is on fire for the divisive politics that the Congress high command thought will succeed.
Never in the annals of Congress history had a chief minister revolted openly with party MLAs defying en masseeven before dust had settled down on its six MPs moving a no-confidence motion against the UPA government. A party which won two LS polls in succession in a state is now looking for crumbs with two-thirds of the state comprising Seemandhra and Rayalaseema fiercely opposing formation of Telangana. With the chief minister on warpath even the Speaker Nadendla Manohar is unhappy at the unseemly haste in rushing a draft T-bill through the President for which whopping 9,024 amendments has been moved.
Ironically Congress’ master of ceremonies Digvijaya Singh continues to purvey the myth that division brings prosperity. “Dividing Andhra Pradesh is for the welfare of the people and not for any political expediency,” he said with his tongue firmly in the cheek.
Worse, home ministry warning citing gravest internal security threat on Telangana has gone unheeded. Twelve of the 15 outlaws in the Maoists’ Central Committee are from Telangana and could scurry back during the six month lull in Telangana formation from districts of Bastar and Gadchiroli abutting the region.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti head K Chandrasekhar Rao’s primary grouse is locals being deprived of government jobs apart from alleged losses in sharing of river waters and revenues. Truth is KCR is exhibiting megalomania and fighting for self glory taking advantage of a long lost cause. As to his frequent ranting of his people losing government jobs there are only 5,000 non-Mulki ones negligible for 1.5 crore eligible Telanganites. (Mulki Rules are finer version of casteist quotas promulgated by the erstwhile Nizam for locals appearing in Hyderabad Civil Services).
Justice Srikrishna Committee which studied the imbroglio has said Telangana region developed the most compared to Seemandhra and Rayalaseema. Yet UPA strategists in backing the wrong TRS horse — with 17 MLAs in assembly of 294 — are trying to pry open a can of worms whose dangerous fallout is yet to be assessed fully.
After massive protests erupted following July 30 announcement last year on Telangana a panel under Defence minister AK Antony was constituted to salvage the situation. Neither Antony nor his Group of Ministers ever visited AP despite Seemandhra fire raging well over six months. Instead people were told to send their views through emails! Cruel joke indeed on illiterate farmers, labourers, milkmen, weavers, fishermen and others.
Ideally, a Telangana formed in 1969 when Chenna Reddy led the movement, could have seen far less rancor and recrimination. But the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi would have none of it crushing the agitation with paramilitary forces. But as fate would have it the long forgotten Telangana cauldron came to be stirred by a jobless Chenna Reddy disqualified for six years from holding office for fanning religious sentiments during a campaign in the 1967 general elections. Though Chenna Reddy had joined Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet as Minister for Steel his election was set aside by a lower court. Despite best efforts he lost his appeal in the High Court and Supreme Court. With Reddy using his manipulative skills and intensifying the Telangana agitation in a long-drawn-out battle, Indira Gandhi had to cut the Gordian knot of trying to save Andhra Pradesh by making him the chief minister. Reddy ended the agitation happily merging his Telangana Praja Samiti with the Congress.
BJP in supporting Telangana and equating it to a small state and better governance has overlooked the fact that if Telangana is formed it will be the 12th largest state. Is this what a small state means? The confusion is evident when its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi raised contradictory slogans of Jai Telangana and Jai Seemandhra addressing a gathering in Hyderabad sometime back. With politicians pitting one against the other Kiran Kumar Reddy’s salvoes at the high command may save the day by bringing the Telangana protagonists to heel. But a sad chapter on division wrote on July 30 ought never to have been written.