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Debate : Point & counterpoint

Debate : Point & counterpoint
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With Seemandhra people up in arms against the Congress decision to bifurcate the State, various issues that have never been discussed openly are...

With Seemandhra people up in arms against the Congress decision to bifurcate the State, various issues that have never been discussed openly are coming into sharp focus from the three regions. We have run a five-part series highlighting the Srikrishna Committee Report’s observations on key issues and asked our readers to respond. The views and counterviews will be published in these columns. They can be either directly related to the subjects mentioned in the Report or on carving out a separate state. They articles should be written in English, not exceeding 800 words, and to the point. Please mention the complete address with phone number. Also attach a passport size photograph and mail to letters@thehansindia.in

“Not a live issue anymore”

One can understand a disgruntled politician presenting a picture that is totally incorrect to push forward his personal agenda. But, what is unfortunate is there are many progressive intellectuals, who have been giving credence to the claims of the political breed by lending their support to them

The above titled part of Srikrishna Report (which was published in these columns) makes one wonder, is it factually correct or a doctored one?

One of the basic ingredients that has been powering the separate Telangana movement, from day one, is the belief that a great injustice has been done in the matter of public employment to the local people. There is a popular social sanction to this widely held and much more widely believed idea that lakhs of jobs that should have logically come to the locals are being grabbed by the Andhra people. Mulkhi rules were violated to begin with and altogether scrapped in due course with a constitutional amendment.

It is also a commonly shared notion that the injustice in this regard has been rendered possible because the real power structure is in the hands of the Andhra politicians for a pretty long time. Even when The Telangana politicians were chief ministers, they were not allowed to function with a peace of mind. But the Srikrishna Report presents a different picture altogether. The number of employees that it showed (18,856) who are in Telangana in violations of the rules is not very big. Among them the majority was repatriated (14,856). If these figures are true, one gets a sinking feeling that one is cheated with a false propaganda.

One can understand a disgruntled politician presenting a picture that is totally incorrect to push forward his personal agenda. But, what is unfortunate is there are many progressive intellectuals, who have been giving credence to the claims of the political breed by lending their support to them. One is deeply disturbed that is it for these pittances of employment many young men were driven to death? When this small public employment is juxtaposed to the huge employment potential of the private sector, given the unabashed push of market economy and globalization, one is struck by the tragedy that has engulfed the State.

If the public employment is not the only reason, why the movement for the demerger had picked up the momentum and got public support. There is the problem of water distribution. More than anything else, there is the feeling that the region is discriminated and its people are treated as second class citizens. Surely, all these are pinching issues, more so because for good or bad identity politics has got traction in the country as a whole.Yet, it is equally true that from a different perspective, every poor man is ill-treated and his self-respect is wantonly violated in the country.Tragically, for the great majority of the articulate, it is not an issue.

Similarly, the manner in which the division statement was announced whatever ethical edge the separate Telangana movement had, had been drained away. It is true all the political parties did their best to make the situation very messy with their unabashed political dishonesty. But it is the responsibility of the party in power to see to it that the decision of this import looked fair, at least seemingly fair, sans political considerations. Instead, the party indulged in the open political calculations and allowed an impression to sink among the people of Seemandhra that all this is a political game, pure and simple.

Had the Congress party put forward the argument that there is a basic justification for the division of the state before the announcement, (with the honest contention that much water had flowed the river Godavari from the days of Indira Gandhi), instead of making it look like a pitch and toss affair, there would have been some moral edge for its decision. Sadly, it was not the case.

Oddly, Diggy Raja was brazen enough to say that in democracy, every decision is political.Yes; it may be true to some extent. But, if it is sickeneningly crass, as it is in the present context, naturally some unexpected situation erupts. What is unfortunate is, long back the political parties forgot an important principle: Democracy is essentially a political education. It is not always an exercise in political management.

One might as well argue that even if the Congress party attempted some efforts to put its stand theoretically on a strong wicket, the agitation in Seemandhra would be in the same intensity, given the unbridled self-interest attitude that is being promoted among the people by the neo-liberal economic ethos.

Admitting that there is a point in this assertion, one is very unhappy that what should have been done, was not done by the powers that be. Now that it is not possible to reverse the decision, nor is it desirable either. The only option for the Congress, to wriggle out from this sorry state is, to convene an all party meeting with two specific questions. One is “Are you for division or not?” The other is, if yes, “what are your suggestions to address the genuine (many fears of them are unfounded) concerns of the Seemandhra people?” In short, it is necessary to involve all the stake-holders in finding out an amicable solution.

There is nothing wrong to give one more chance to the parties so that they would be exposed before the people once again.This is the only way to prevent the unseemly competitive politics in Seemandhra. For this to take place and instill confidence among the people that the Congress is attempting the solution in a sincere way, the first condition is that it is time it stopped using its positional advantage and make the field flat to all.

It does not behove a national party of that standing to behave that petty for a few seats. In a way it is a chance for the ruling party to prove itself that, when push comes to shove, it can correct itself and rise to the occasion even from the nadir point of credibility. Otherwise, its glory would be history in the land/lands of Telugu speaking people.

(The writer is Lecturer in English, SR & BGNR Degree and PG College, Khammam)

An unworkable proposal
The city of Hyderabad cannot be equated with Chandigarh for making the former as Union Territory and a joint capital for new states of Telangana and Seemandhra for the simple reason that Chandigarh lies between Punjab and Haryana border which is not in the case of Hyderabad
The news media has floated a proposal to make Hyderabad Union Territory and joint capital to resolve the issue of State bifurcation and to satisfy the agitating people of Seemandhra region. There is no valid point in the argument. Historically, Hyderabad city has been sheltering people not only from the erstwhile Hyderabad State but also the entire country. People from all states have invested and participated in Hyderabad development from time to time even after the formation of Andhra Pradesh State.
Hyderabad was the fifth largest city after New Delhi, Kolkata, Bombay and Madras during the British rule and continues to be in the same position with inclusion of Bangalore now.
The same demands may crop up in the said metros, if such a criterion is taken into consideration. That is, declaration of Union Territory if the local population in the city is only 50 to 65 per cent.
Cities like Pune, Gurgaon, Gandhinagar, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Visakhapatnam and others are rapidly growing, attracting people from all over the country. The city of Hyderabad cannot be equated with Chandigarh for making the former as Union Territory and a joint capital for new states of Telangana and Seemandhra for the simple reason that Chandigarh lies between Punjab and Haryana border which is not in the case of Hyderabad.
The city is surrounded by Telangana districts and exists as part of Telangana only. Moreover, it is not viable as Union Territory as many administrative and jurisdiction problems will arise in near future, if it is made permanent joint capital for both states.
The Hyderabad city was capital for the Nizam’s Hyderabad State since the time of the British India until it became capital for the new State of Andhra Pradesh that was formed conditionally by merging Telangana and Seemandhra regions in 1956. Therefore, the norms and stipulations laid down in the Indian Constitution to make a city Union Territory will not apply to Hyderabad.
If Hyderabad is made Union Territory under whatever circumstances that will not only erode the credentials of this city but also all other metros serving as capitals as well as financial centres for their respective states. Such a move will have wider repercussions and create chaos in the country. At least now all political parties should come out openly for bifurcation and the permanent solution to put an end to the countless debates is setting up of new capital for Seemandhra without delay.
TDP president Chandrababu Naidu had said a new capital for Seemandhra with central assistance has to be constructed on par with Hyderabad. Similarly, other opposition parties should declare their views/ideas about the location of capital city. To contain the Seemandhra unrest, the UPA Government has to announce a new capital city for Seemandhra in consultation with all parties setting a timeframe for beginning and completion of the capital.
TDP president Chandrababu Naidu has claimed that he has developed the city and got international recognition in IT field. He should be aware that other cities like Bangalore, Chennai, and Pune etc. have also developed amazingly in the same field.
The credit should go to computer technology, not to any individual, for turning Hyderabad into an IT hub.
Hyderabad is a metropolitan city with cosmopolitan culture like any other major city in the country and the same rules will apply to Hyderabad as far as people are concerned. If any provisions or rules are made for Seemandhra people in the name of their safety in Hyderabad they may lead to similar demands in other cities as well, creating new law and order problems.
There is no bar on any Indian citizen to pursue education and seek employment in any metro. Andhras have every right to make use of their chances as per the provisions made in every metropolitan city in the country. Similarly, the people from Seemandhra can stay and live in Hyderabad after their retirement in State government service according to their convenience as a citizen along with all other local people who have made the city their home.
In this context all of us should know that we have Constitutional guarantees to live anywhere in the country irrespective of caste, creed and religion. These are fundamental rights. All these should apply for the Hyderabad city and for those living there. In view of the prevailing situation in Telangana and Seemandhra, the Centre has to take firm action to solve the issue by demerging Telangana into a separate state with Hyderabad as its capital.
(The writer is a retired superintendent, Department of Technical Education, Govt of Andhra Pradesh)

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