Telangana mess

Andhra Pradesh is again on the boil with the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions erupting in protest over the Union cabinet’s approval of the proposal to divide the state to create a separate  Telangana .

Though the Congress Working Committee had given the green signal to the move two months ago, the UPA cabinet’s decision sets the formal process in motion to create the new state. The state never had a peaceful day ever since the proposal gained momentum and now with bigger and more widespread protests, shutdowns and disruption of lives, it may be headed for much worse times. Union ministers, MPs  and MLAs from  the state have resigned  and  even the survival of the state government headed by Kiran Kumar Reddy, who himself is staunchly opposed to the division of the state, is doubtful. The state Assembly  may not also pass the supporting  legislation.

The rationale for creating a state at so much social, economic and political cost is inexplicable. State reorganisations have taken place only on linguistic basis or on the basis of the full consent of the people of the separating  regions. Both principles have been given the go-by in the case of Telangana and the decision is being imposed from above.

The way in which it is being done is undemocratic as the people of the Seemandhra region  bitterly  feel that they have not been adequately consulted on the matter.  The only explanation is that  the leadership of the Congress, which has lost its ground in the Andhra region for other reasons, hopes to secure the party’s  position in the Telangana area in the next elections. This is cynicism that sacrifices long-term interests of the state on narrow, short-term considerations. The strategy is to divide and gain, and this is as bad and dangerous as communal polarisation sought to be effected through incitement of riots and disturbances before elections.

The practical problems that follow the division of the state, like apportionment of assets and resources like water, will be formidable. The status of Hyderabad will be a sore point. Huge investments will be needed to build a new capital for the Seemandhra region. There will be severe dislocations in the lives  of people because of population shifts.  There is bound to be violence on the streets and the state is likely to bleed in the foreseeable future. Is the division worth all this trouble and cost?

Comments (+)