Governor turns AP into a police state

Governor turns AP into a police state

Tense ties: The CM and his ‘advisor’.

Former IB chief and Chhattisgarh Governor ESL Narasimhan (63), usually dressed in a crisp trouser and a smartly tucked-in shirt, looks more like a hands-on bureaucrat-administrator, which he is, than an ageing politician-turned rubber stamp-governor.

Narasimhan was sent to Andhra Pradesh ahead of the setting up of Srikrishna Committee to help the Centre manage the situation. Political observers say that with successive Congress CMs, Rosiah and Kiran Kumar Reddy, failing to show the nerve required for the job, the Centre is increasingly relying on the Governor.

It is obvious that Narasimhan is very close to the powers that be at the centre. His recent three-day long visit to Delhi and his meetings with the Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, A K Antony and Ahmed Patel raised speculations of a stint of President’s rule in the state.

The Governor has been holding tele-conferences with senior officials at Hyderabad and trouble-torn Telangana districts. He was even forced to clarify sometime ago that he was not meddling in the affairs of the state as alleged by the opposition parties, but just advising the CM. 

The Governor has also made it clear that he is on a special assignment – to manage the fallout of Telangana agitation. As universities have emerged as the hubs of unrest, he has been repeatedly convening meetings of vice chancellors (VC) to try to neutralise agitators.

The Osmania University VC Tirupathi Rao postponed the semester exams, under pressure from students, who wanted to stay in the hostels during the announcement of Srikrishna Committee report. If exams had been held on schedule, holidays would have begun and many students would have left the hostels during the first week of January 2011, thus depriving agitators, the advantage of numbers.  

Narasimhan took Tirupathi Rao to task for yielding to students’ pressure and sought an explanation for allowing the students to stay at the hostels during the announcement of Srikrishna Committee report.

 Then he asked the government to declare early holidays for Sankranti festival. As the educational institutions shut down between January 8 to 20, the response of students to the Committee report was muted.

The troops conducted regular flag marches prior to the publishing of Srikrishna Committee, but judiciously stayed away from main campus. The government placed four companies of paramilitary forces in Amberpet, an area very close to the Osmania University. Similar deployments ensured security in areas close to the City and Nizam colleges and the Hyderabad Central University, the other agitation hot spots.

The Governor also curbed live coverage of agitations to prevent emotions from flaring up. Only Raj TV, run by TRS, defied and promptly received a notice for violating the regulations.

 With holidays declared, hostels and canteens closed, the agitation temporarily lost steam. The bandh call given by student’s joint action committees in Telangana universities, particularly Osmania and Kakatiya universities, elicited a dull response.

 Security personnel march on a street near the Osmania University on the eve of the Andhra Pradesh political parties' meeting in New Delhi to discuss the Justice B N Srikrishna Committee report on Telangana. PTIThe Governor also saw to it that the para military forces made their presence felt in the city. The Border Security Force (BSF) has already taken over the security of State Assembly, Secretariat and the DGP’s office. More than 20 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in the city to tackle any trouble.

But the smart administrative moves, which ensured peace in the days following the publishing of the report, would not go far in resolving the crisis, which needs a  political solution.  Unfortunately, the proactive Governor is further eroding the political strength of the already weakened chief ministers, who are entrusted with the task of finding that lasting balm. 

Critics say former Chief Minister K Rosaiah was not sure who was ruling the state, he or the Governor. Rosaiah had reportedly confided to his aides that often the information about local developments reached the High Command ahead of him, courtesy the Governor.

Narasimhan has also attracted the ire of pro-Telangana parties. BJP has demanded his recall and a senior Telangana congress leader Palavai Goverdhan Reddy described him as a “General Dyer “, who was against Telangana.

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Telangana agitators hit brand Hyderabad

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