Several TRS, Congress and Praja Rajyam MPs, MLAs and MLCs have resigned accusing the Centre of putting in "cold storage" the formation of Telangana State. It is perplexing that while one part of the state is carrying on an intense agitation for a separate state, the other part of the state is carrying on a unification agitation. The current agitations on Telangana are no longer a political movement; it is now a civil society issue. The Central government's announcement on Telangana is a culmination of over five decades of agitation for the creation of a separate state. K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) has attempted every possible gimmick to carve an image "Ultimate worrior of Telengana." Under the leadership of K Chandrasekhar Rao, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has pressurised the Central government to set a deadline for the formation of a separate Telangana state. Telangana corresponds to the Telugu speaking part of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad. The region lies to the west of the Eastern ghats range. Telangana came under Muslim rule in 14th century. Strangely, it was never under direct British rule. However, once again, it was felt that the Congress party did not fulfil the promise made to the people of Telangana.
In December 2009, the demand for a separate Telangana state was being raised by all the four crore people of Telangana in unison. The TRS chief's fast-unto-death mission to free his land pressurised the Central government. On the night of December 9, 2009, the Congress Party decided to accept the demand for Telangana and promised to initiate a process for it.
Unlike other states which were carved out of an existing state, Telangana was a pre-existing state which had a distinct identity of its own. It had a distinct language and culture. The States Reorganisation Commission recommended against the merger of the Hyderabad State with the Andhra State. The SRC recorded: "The real fear of the people of Telangana is that if they join Andhra they will be unequally placed in relation to the people of Andhra and in this partnership the major partner will derive all the advantages immediately while Telangana itself may be converted into a colony by the enterprising Andhras."
Addressing a joint press conference, Mr. Rao, Mr. Jana Reddy and Praja Rajyam MLA Anil, said the "vague" statement of Mr. Chidambaram appeared to put on hold formation of Telangana. They pointed out that no time-frame was fixed for the wide-ranging consultations as mentioned by the Home Minister and it could even take 50 years. The central government established unified Andhra Pradesh on November 1, 1956 on linguistic lines.
The first battle for separation of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh erupted in 1969 under the leadership of Marri Chenna Reddy. The Congress party suppressed the movement. This disturbed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people one way or the other. It was a big blow to the generation of the times.
There might have been a need of separate state hence people of the region received him fairly well in the 2005 elections. But when separate state was his agenda, he should have rejected the cabinet positions that were offered to his party men. Telangana region's public representatives ranging from MPTC members to MPs and MLAs, of all parties, keeping aside their party affiliations, would meet on Thursday morning and submit their resignations. Subsequently, the JAC of public representatives would chalk out an action programme.
In 2004, the Congress party and the TRS had an electoral alliance in the Telangana region with the promise of a separate Telangana state. TRS joined the coalition government in 2004 and was successful in making a separate Telangana state a part of the common minimum program (CMP). In September 2006, TRS withdrew support from the Congress-led coalition government.
Before we think about all these let's hope that KCR's agitation will come to a peaceful end without violation of human rights and destruction of public properties.
The govt. is being criticized by peoples of acting partially by imposing sections 30 and 144 of IPC all over Telangana, while it had allowed bus yatras of Praja Rajyam president K. Chiranjeevi and Telugu Desam leaders in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. They demanded Chief Minister K. Rosaiah to immediately withdraw the restrictions and warned that government would face a "volatile situation" otherwise.
The post election drama of 2005 stamped down the hope for the separate state. The election re-election and finally the grand elections of 2009 painted TRS as just another political party. Rather than being two separate entities, Telangana and Andhra are two interdependent regions. If Andhra accounts for major food production, Telangana region is rich in minerals. Both the regions have Telugu as their main language. This is why Telengana is no Jharkhand or Uttarakhand.
Appeal has been made to the people, particularly students and youth, to observe the bandh peacefully. They urged students not to succumb to emotions and make suicide attempts. If Telengana is declared, the disputes over border would be endless. The issue about Hyderabad, Bhadrachalam etc will create a hostile environment in the state. The moment when the "T" bill is introduced in the Parliament or when/if an SRC is constituted, the government will be forced to consider the plights of Gurkha land in west Bengal, south Tamil Nadu in the south along with the proposal of Konkan state. Meanwhile, State BJP unit after an emergency meeting of its office-bearers called for a 24-hour bandh in protest against Mr. Chidambaram's statement. State BJP president Bandaru Dattatreya accused Congress party of indulging in deceit and playing with the sentiments of Telangana people.
Breaking the country into such smaller units will increase regionalism in Indian politics. Further it is a multi-crore task for the government and funds for the formation of so many states cannot be accommodating in the forthcoming budget. Although the claim for separate state is itself divided in the Andhra Pradesh itself, governments must understand the need to maintain uniform and sustained growth throughout the state.
All the sources visited on 24th December,, 2009, 10.00 IST.
Associate Professor of Law,
KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, India,
Research Papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=1189281