BJP sees no advantage in giving Special Status to AP
It was a week of high drama in New Delhi as the Private Member’s Bill moved by the Congress senior leader KVP Ramachandra Rao demanding Special Status...
It was a week of high drama in New Delhi as the Private Member’s Bill moved by the Congress senior leader KVP Ramachandra Rao demanding Special Status to the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh was to come for voting. Undoubtedly, it was more of a political game and an attempt by the Congress Party to try and resurrect itself in the state. Has it really helped the Congress in improving its image is debatable but the fact remains that it has succeeded in getting the issue highlighted at the national level.
It may be recalled that when K Chandrasekhar Rao quit TDP and floated the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the issue of separate Telangana was almost a nonexistent. When KCR started meeting leaders of all political parties, there was criticism that it was a political stunt and would in no way help in getting the issue highlighted and there was no chance of a Bill being introduced in the Parliament. But the relentless efforts of KCR which lasted for nearly 14 years reached a stage where it got highlighted at the national level and forced the Centre to bifurcate the state.
In this issue also, all the stake holders in Parliament including the TDP had their own strategies to see that their political fortunes are not dented. The game of one upmanship continues but then the fact remains that it has undoubtedly raked up keen interest among many political parties. Political observers say that there is yet another interesting angle to the reason behind other political parties at the national level supporting the cause.
Following the promise of former prime minister Manmohan Singh to grant special status to AP while bifurcating the state had resulted in upping the ante demanding special status by many other states and they apparently felt that if the Bill moved by KVP can cross the hurdles they too can follow suit and put pressure on the Centre. And this is precisely why the BJP is making all out efforts to see that they don’t get entangled in a complex situation. It is now certain that there is no chance of the Bill coming up for voting on July 29 and remains to be seen whether the Chairman would list it for August 5 or not. If that does not happen then it means the Congress will have to wait till the winter session.
If the Congress has to gain politically it will have to evolve strategies to keep the issue alive till such time. While the TDP has put itself in a safe position by deciding to vote in favour of the bill, the BJP in AP will certainly face some problems as it would be constantly under attack from Congress which would launch a campaign that BJP was opposed to Special Status. It will also continue to allege that TDP also had a role to play in depriving the state to see that the mistakes committed by UPA government were amended, it may not cut much ice with people since the TDP had agreed to vote in favour of the bill.
The BJP would take the line that so far only 14 Private Member Bills were passed by both Houses and had become law in the history of Indian Parliament and the last such Bill was the Supreme Court (enlargement of criminal appellate jurisdiction) Bill, was passed in 1970. However, as far as BJP is concerned the relief is just temporary for BJP as it will come in one form or other at some other time. Experts say that it is not that easy to pass this Bill? But then what if the Bill is passed? Even if it is passed by Rajya Sabha, the Center is not obliged to follow that.
While it remains to be seen as to what extent it would help Congress politically in Andhra Pradesh, the TDP which at a point of time felt that it was getting into an embarrassing situation, succeeded in converting the issue in its favour by deciding to vote for the Bill. It will help the ruling party to put the BJP in an embarrassing situation. The BJP it may be mentioned here has been making all out efforts to strengthen its base in the state and many a times the party’s senior leaders have been lashing out at TDP on several key issues and have been alleging that TDP was violating the alliance dharma by saying that the Centre was not giving adequate funds to develop the truncated state.
Now the TDP can not only blame the Congress for bifurcating the state in an unscientific manner but can also hold the BJP responsible for the state missing a chance to get Special Status if the relations between the two further sour. While this is the political fallout of the latest development on the issue of Special Status, the biggest loser is the main opposition YSRCP. The party had been constantly failing to convert political opportunities to its advantage apparently because the leadership lacks political maturity and never tries to think out of box to fix the government.
But then what will be the fate of the bill? Will the state get special status or not? The indications given so far by the NDA government and even the latest statement of Venkaiah Naidu that the pressure on the Centre had increased from other states demanding Special Status after KVP introduced the Private Member Bill makes it clear that the BJP is not in a mood to give Special Status to AP. The Special Status to Andhra Pradesh can become a reality only if the BJP takes a political decision.
By V RAMU SARMA