Kudos to Congress!
The Congress high command has finally honored its promise that it made to people of Telangana. It has come in the form of a birthday ‘gift’ from none other than the UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Like the midnight freedom to the country even the decision of the Congress high command indeed has come right close to the midnight on Wednesday, the December 9.
In fact, the Congress, which fought the 2004 assembly polls with Telangana Rashtra Samiti had promised its Chief K Chandrasekhara Rao that it would consider his demand for separate statehood at an appropriate time. And, Rao believed the Congress and also joined the Union cabinet of UPA government as Labour Minister. But, situation did not warrant the Congress to take a decision on Telangana as both the Left parties – the CPI and CPM extended the Congress-led minority UPA government at the Centre – were against smaller states. Added to this was the Lok Sabha having the CPM member, Mr Somnath Chatterjee, as the Speaker.
The CPM, time and again, expressed its opposition to any further disintegration of the country on the argument that the Indian Republic states were formed on linguistic basis. As a result, the Manmohan Singh headed Congress government was unable to fulfill its promise made to the TRS chief. On the other hand, the helpless TRS leader kept on giving dates to his supporters of the possible announcement from the UPA government. When he realized the Congress helplessness, he decided to call ‘quits’, first asking his colleagues in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly to resign and later following suit.
He not only proved a point by re-seeking entry into parliament from the same Karimnagar parliament constituency and winning with handsome majority. Yet, he appears to have been faltered in case of his colleagues in the state assembly. Ironically, the party suffered humiliating defeat not only facing split before the bypolls, but also in its outcome. The party was split into two after the 2004 elections with only 14 of the 27 elected members decided to ‘stick’ with Rao and resign to contest bypolls. Even in the bypolls, KCR led group suffered further humiliation as only seven of the 14 returned to the state assembly.
But, unrelenting Rao did not leave his path for separate statehood and kept on putting pressure on the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre. In 2009 elections, he decided to align with the main Opposition Telugu Desam-led “Mahakutami” to fight Congress and yet again suffered humiliation as his party failed to perform any better. All the KCR’s “game-plans” were successfully “foiled” by a strong leader in Congress in the form of Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.
Incidentally, the untimely death of Dr Reddy in chopper crash has given Rao a golden opportunity to raise the separate statehood demand. Added to that intra-party bickerings within the Congress helped him to intensify the agitation demanding for separate statehood. The clever move by him to take up fast-unto-death agitation too paid rich dividends.
The worsening situation arose out of fasting Rao’s deteriorating health condition panicked the Congress high command to hurry up its long-pending decision on Telangana issue. Today, as the Congress enjoys considerable numerical strength in the UPA dispensation could take such a bold decision to declare initiative for formation of separate statehood for Telangana, which was simmering for the past two to three decades.
With the Wednesday night’s decision, the Indian National Congress and its president Sonia Gandhi has proved its critics __ who have been calling the party the most undisciplined and not trust worthy __ that it has some political values. A handful of party members representing the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, who boasted to abide by the decision of Sonia are now ‘revolting’ only prove their ‘dishonesty’. How, Sonia and her ‘think tank’ can overcome the situation only time will tell.