Blame game unabated!


Blame Game Unabated!, Question of Telangana. One can understand the language of leaders like Chandrababu Naidu and YS Jaganmohan Reddy. They have huge political stakes.

One can understand the language of leaders like Chandrababu Naidu and YS Jaganmohan Reddy. They have huge political stakes. Even a person like Jayaprakash Narayan, whose stakes are limited, and who was described by Rajedeep Sardesai of the CNN-IBN as the ‘wisest man from AP’, appears to have undergone a change of heart

The cacophony on the question of Telangana continues unabated. There has been so much of debate for so long that there is absolutely nothing new to add. Whatever one may say it would be a repetition. Your views are taken or rejected depending on which region you hail from. The situation has been so dejecting that I have stopped participating in the talk shows organised by our own channel. There have been a couple of allegations against the Centre that were repeated by politicians of all hues.

The first and foremost was that the UPA government has been behaving in a most autocratic manner in its design to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh unilaterally. Secondly, it was being done without enough consultations with the ‘stakeholders’. Thirdly, the move to bifurcate the State was made the Congress for political gain.

The UPA at the Centre and the Congress in the State have to take the final call in matters like this. That is what is happening. No opposition party would be willing to cooperate with a ruling party, particularly in matters like this. To accuse the UPA government of taking unilateral decision smacks of opportunistic politics. It is wrong to say that there have been no consultations. They have been going on since 2004 when the Congress party had an electoral tie-up with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), a party whose single-point agenda is the creation of a separate State of Telangana. Since then, there was a subcommittee headed by Pranab Kumar Mukherjee who was heading more than a dozen important committees. There were three inconclusive meetings of the sub-committee.

YS Rajasekhara Reddy appointed a Joint Legislature Committee under the chairmanship of the then Finance Minister Konijeti Rosaiah. It did not take off. YS died in a copter crash on September 5. K Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR) started hunger strike on November 29, 2009, exactly four years ago. In an emotionally charged atmosphere, Rosaiah as Chief Minister conducted an all-party meeting on December 7 the same year. Most of the participants had given green signal for Telangana. Two days later, Chidambaram, the then Union Home Minister, announced the UPA government’s decision to create a state of Telangana. It happened to be Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s birthday. What happened the next day is too fresh in our memory to merit recall. On December 29, Chidambaram told the country that the decision is being kept on the backburner. He conducted one more all-party meeting on January 5, 2010 and promised to organise another soon. But it was not to be. Chidambaram, instead, appointed Justice Srikrishna Committee to know the pulse of the people.

The fourmember committee toured the State extensively and submitted a report in the stipulated time limit. On January 6, 2011, Chidambaram called all parties to Delhi again and distributed the copies of the Committee’s report. Then there was a lull and a change at the helm of the Home Ministry. A structured consultation process was restarted on December 29, 2012 by new Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. The Congress Working Committee (CWC) resolved on July 30 this year to carve Telangana State. The UPA Cabinet had, on October3, approved the CWC resolution. There was Antony Committee appointed by the Congress President.

The Group of Ministers appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was also supposed to be headed by the ailing Defence Minister. When this is the history of prolonged consultations, our leaders have had the audacity to attack the UPA government for unilateral decision. One can understand the language of leaders like Chandrababu Naidu and YS Jaganmohan Reddy. They have huge political stakes. Even a person like Jayaprakash Narayan, whose stakes are limited, and who was described by Rajedeep Sardesai of the CNN-IBN as the ‘wisest man from AP’, appears to have undergone a change of heart. JP, to be fair to him, had organised a round-table conference at Jubilee Hall soon after the UPA decision and appealed to the people to think of what should happen in future instead of dilating on united AP since the UPA decision seemed irrevocable. In his attempt to convince the people of Seemandhra region on this line of argument, he embarked upon a tour of Seemandhra. He went to Kurnool and then to Anantapur from where he had to beat a hasty retreat because of the heat of the popular emotions. That had a strong influence on JP who turned a bitter critic of the UPA government and the Congress party. He has been mounting a scathing attack on the Congress for taking a decision to split the Telugus just to further its electoral chances in 2014 and to make Rahul Gandhi next prime minister. There is no need to dispute the conclusion.

The Congress is a political party known for its electoral calculations and manipulations. But what about others who are complaining? Do they have only the interests of the people at heart when they indulge in all kinds of acrobatics? It is electoral considerations for everyone, including Sonia Gandhi, Chandrababu Naidu, Kiran Kumar Reddy, YS Jaganmohan Reddy et al. When S Jaipal Reddy and JP also had to take side, can we imagine the people of all the regions in the State to pull on well hereafter even if bifurcation is averted? Is there anyone left who can keep the State united and bring about an emotional integration among the Telugus so that they can live in harmony?The polarisation is almost complete. It is sad but true. This kind of situation used to be there in the old city of Hyderabad when MIM and the BJP used to divide the society. One had to be either with the MIM or the BJP or its earlier avatar Jan Sangh.

Now it has to be either for Telangana or Seemandhra. All those who are vehemently opposing the decision of bifurcation, kept quiet when the Congress and the TDP had electoral alliance with the TRS. Even the CPM which claims to be maintaining its stance in favour of united AP had no compunction for a tieup with the Congress in 2004 and TDP in 2009. Even when the decision to bifurcate the State appears to be irreversible, there has been no attempt on the part of the Congress or other parties to sit across the table and discuss the issues such as Hyderabad, river waters, jobs, revenues etc. Every leader is working hard to play to the gallery. No one is interested in a solution. Every MP and MLA is worried about his re-election.

While the politicians have been busy with their game of one-upmanship and political survival, the common people are fighting their battles with no help from their elected representatives. Used for decades to face cyclones every November, the official machinery has been following the rulebook with little guidance from Ministers. There have been devastating cyclones-Phailin and Helen- which caused enormous damage to the crops, property besides killing scores of people. Now Leher is threatening to strike. But we find Ministers and MPs from coastal areas busy meeting the GoM or organising media conferences or giving bytes to the waiting TV reporters in Delhi. Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy reviewing the arrangements at his office in Hyderabad is the only news to report on the performance of the political establishment. What a shame!

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