– V.N. Balakrishna | September 09, 2013
Ahmedabad | When Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha last month that on the decision to carve out a separate Telangana state, the home ministry would “bring a comprehensive (CWC) note for the cabinet containing both substantive and procedural issues” the BJP cried foul accusing the Congress of “playing a double game” on Telangana.
A week later Modi was in Hyderabad, his first foray in the city after being made chairman of its national election committee.
Addressing a public meeting, he said despite promising a Telangana state in 2004, the Congress failed to build a capital for Seemandhra which, as he hinted, was the cause for ongoing protests. Accusing the Congress of adopting a divide-and-rule policy, he appealed to people of both the regions to live peacefully as brothers and not be provoked by Congress ‘games.’ Interestingly he raised the slogans of ‘Jai Telangana’ and ‘Jai Seemandhra’ rattling both supporters and opponents of Telangana.
The question is was Modi (mis)led down the garden path by those who control the BJP? The party knows well that in Seemandhra its chances of making impact are virtually nil and therefore in supporting Telangana it can offset its losses and at least make its presence felt. Yet it should have known Congress too is pursuing the same gameplan as it is bound to lose clout in Seemandhara or even be wiped out once it goes on the suicidal path of Telangana formation.
Modi could have done well in escaping Andhra maelstrom by saying that no state should be bifurcated simply by the fiat of a body like CWC – interestingly it has no members from Andhra – without due process of a bill being passed in the state assembly for ratification and the Parliament approving it.
Before Modi gets into the PM’s chair he should recognize pitfalls, especially the classic Andhra Pradesh offers to politicians who go on populist tangent sensing votes for the asking. Like the King Solomon of yore asking the child be split in two, Andhra Pradesh can never be bifurcated in the present scenario with Hyderabad and other contentious issues being irreconcilable.
Telangana formation in 1969 looked feasible but then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi would have none of it. What the Congress of today is trying is to play is votebank politics to split a once prosperous state on the underlying premise of warped sense of social justice that Telangana proponents like KCR are propagating and BJP nonetheless trying is to make a virtue of it: the same way King Solomon had tried his impracticable solution to split the child though he never meant it. Andhra Pradesh is the Pandora’s Box and Modi should be well advised to go anywhere near it.
For Modi to say that the Vajpayee government carved out separate states out of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and there were celebrations in all regions only showed his political naivety vis-à-vis the genesis of Telangana problem. All the states Modi mentioned were carved with full cooperation of the people from those respective states. There is no such unanimity to resolve Andhra imbroglio not in the least by a CWC fiat.