KCR's 'right' move – By Bhandaru Srinivas Rao
The reported `move` of Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrasekhara Rao not to attend the proposed January 6 meeting convened by the Union Minister P Chidambaram, indeed strategically right and laudable as it no way help solve the ‘T’ problem.
Undoubtedly, the Congress-led UPA government in a `fix` over considering the demand of Telganites for carving out separate statehood, as it scared to open `bottle of worms`. Apart from Telangana, the demand for “Gorkhaland” in West Bengal and other small states elsewhere in UP are pending since quite some time. But, reasons best known to the Congress, it had taken unilateral decision, to support the cause of T-statehood. If it in 2004 elections gave categorical assurance to TRS and contested elections with clear understanding, but later backed out. In 2009 polls, the situation changed a lot though the T-issue became a focal point. The main Opposition Telugu Desam, which thought to gain some political benefits in 2009 polls, forged an alliance with the separatist TRS and formed “Mahakutami” even romping in the one of the left parties – the CPI and discreetly struck a deal with CPM in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. That it`s `trick` did not work and people of the state, for the first time preferred `positive vote` and helped Congress retain power with vafer-thin margin.
Though, the `movement` for separate statehood did not take ugly turn during the first stint of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and later, yet it got momentum, no sooner YSR died in a chopper crash. Even students joined the movement and made the successive Congress chief ministers lives difficult to govern. Added to this was ‘infighting’ with the Congress over settling old scores with the former Chief Minister YSR’s family members.
Coming back to TRS, its movement for separate statehood reached new heights as more and more people joined it. If the student community are up in arms and even refused to write examinations, then the government employees belonging to the region, also responded positively to strengthen the demand for separate statehood by going ahead with their ‘pen down’ strike. Though the Congress, in a bid to buy some time managed to constitute Justice Sri Krishna Committee and ascertain views of all sections of the people, yet its problems in finding a `solution` to the issue becomes all the more difficult with Committee submitting its report on December 30, a day ahead of the deadline set. In fact, the TRS, which threatened not to give its views to Justice Srikrishna Committee, however relented and submitted its view point.
Now it argues, having obtained view point of all the region people, where is the necessity for the Congress to call for yet another round of similar meeting. What seems to have irked TRS most was the Centre’s direction to ask all the invited eight recognized parties, to send two of their representatives. “If this is not `mischievous act`, then what else is?” asks the TRS chief. As a matter of fact, he was right. Now the ball is in Centre’s court and the Congress led UPA government should table a Bill in Parliament to get all parties assent. The major Opposition BJP had already announced its decision to support such a Bill if tabled in Parliament. The TDP too hold similar view onus on the UPA government at the Centre.
One should appreciate that KCR, all through his struggle for separate statehood, had struck to ‘non-violent’ tactics of Mahatma Gandhi, though at times he might have made some provocative statements to whip up regional passions. What most impressed of KCR’s characteristics was his commitment for state bifurcation, nothing less or nothing more. How genuine KCR for T-cause was evident from his declaration that he would wound up party no sooner the Congress-led UPA government begin the process for state bifurcation.
Contrary to this, the Congress and Telugu Desam, appears to have caught in political cog mire and unable to wriggle out. The TDP, which was formed on to protect Telugus self-respect is now in a fix on state bifurcation. His very decision in 2014 elections to ally with TRS cost him dearly in coastal and Rayalaseema regions. The party is yet to overcome from this shock and unable to overcome since then. The Congress which is dodging the issue on one pretext or the other is also equally appears not in favor of smaller states as it would go against the letter and spirit of on which the states were formed on linguistic basis sooner after the independence.
The Congress, which is heading a coalition government at the Centre, is well aware that there are no many takers for such a proposal among its own alliance partners. Any such move bound to coast them dearly, that too on the eve of elections to five state, including West Bengal, where the demand for separate Gorkhaland is loud and clear, besides Tamil Nadu.
In spite of knowing these facts, the TRS is banking on the support of BJP, which openly expressed its support for smaller states. But, can Congress afford to play into the hands of BJP by tabling a Bill in Parliament on T-issue? Certainly, not! Though, the TRS strategies are right and appreciable, yet it’s ambitious to accomplish its set goals, look more difficult in prevailing political scenario. In such a case, will TRS turn the region into a battle ground? If such a thing happen and the law and order further deteriorates, the UPA government at the Centre had its option of revoking Article 356 to clamp President’s rule, if not for long, at least for a short period to come to grips.
Hence, the only option that left before TRS is to pressurize legislators from the Congress and Opposition to resign en masse as promised earlier to create Constitutional crisis. Only with such constructive strike, the TRS can expect to achieve its goal. Or else, however good strategies they may adopt part from the one suggested in these columns, nothing could be achieved. That’s what reality now! (05—1-2011)