Telangana – Politics & Elections ఏప్రిల్ 8, 2009Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Congress, elections, Identity, PRP, TDP, Telangana, TRS.
Why it is Telangana that holds the key
S. Nagesh Kumar
The results in the region may determine the outcome of the elections in Andhra Pradesh Telangana has been a traditional electoral battleground, and 2009 is no exception. Before every election, public sentiment is roused with promises of transforming the backward region by separating it from Andhra Pradesh.
Once the polls are over and a new government is in place, the issue is conveniently relegated to a far corner of the political agenda — until the next elections.
This cycle has been going on since 1969. Marri Channa Reddy reaped a rich political harvest by leading a violent Telangana agitation, going on to become Chief Minister twice. Other champions of Telangana have since come and gone but none has succeeded in bringing a separate State as close to reality as Telangana Rashtra Samithi president K. Chandrasekhar Rao has.
A shrewd politician, KCR, as he is known, has a single point agenda — bifurcation of the State — ever since he fell out with Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu and floated his own party in 2001. He outwitted his erstwhile mentor by joining hands with the Congress in the 2004 elections and contributed to the TDP’s rout.
The Telangana region comprises 10 districts, most of them former dominions of the Nizam of Hyderabad. It never progressed in tandem with districts on the coast where a network of dams, canals and drains contributed to prosperity, thanks to the vision of legends like Sir Arthur Cotton, M. Visveswaraya and K. L. Rao. The entrepreneurial farming class in the region did the rest, making best use of the opportunity.
The seeds of unrest in Telangana were sown in 1955 when the recommendation of the States Reorganisation Commission to retain Hyderabad as a separate State went unheeded. Telangana leaders accused the people of Andhra of colonising the region by grabbing their jobs and land and the government of not investing sufficient funds in infrastructure. The result was the ‘Jai Telangana’ movement in 1969 and a counter-agitation some three years later for a separate Andhra.
Where Channa Reddy, the rabble-rousing, mass leader of Telangana Praja Samithi (TPS) failed, KCR has succeeded. Where there was prolonged violence and discord during Dr. Reddy’s leadership, there is near consensus among political parties. KCR made a series of deft political moves to ensure that Telangana was on the top of every party’s agenda. The choice before them was to support the cause or lose out in the elections.
The BJP has promised Telangana within 100 days of coming to power at the Centre. The CPI, always a votary of ‘visalandhra’ (a united Andhra), has now pledged support to the aspirations of the Telangana people while the CPI(M), though opposed to smaller States, says it can do little if the parties want a separate State. The TDP, in a complete turnaround from the philosophy of its founder, N. T. Rama Rao, calling for unity among all Telugus, has promised Telangana if it is returned to power.
Praja Rajyam president Chiranjeevi also chose to sail with the prevailing wind by saying he would prefer ‘a peaceful parting of ways among brothers.’ In its 2004 election manifesto, the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance said a decision on Telangana would be taken at an appropriate time through consultations and consensus and has constituted a sub-committee headed by Pranab Mukherjee to seek the views of political parties.
However, recently, Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy declared that his government had no objection to the formation of Telangana State in principle. The TRS has gravitated towards the TDP in a ‘grand alliance’ that includes the Left. The alliance is poised to give the Congress a tough fight in Telangana, which accounts for 119 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats; the Praja Rajyam has not made much impact in this region.
In the last elections, the Congress, TRS and the Left crushed the TDP, leaving it far behind with just one Lok Sabha and 11 Assembly seats. The boot is now on the other leg as the Congress’ political friends have turned foes. Although the TRS and the TDP have squabbled over seats, the Congress may find it difficult to win even half the seats in Telangana.
Unless it wins 50-60 seats here, its chances of retaining power in Andhra Pradesh will be poor.
Source: The Hindu 7 April 2009 http://www.hindu.com/2009/04/07/stories/2009040756451200.htm