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Old excuses retold again – Regional exploitation డిసెంబర్ 2, 2009

Posted by Telangana Utsav in Culture, Economy, Identity, politics, Telangana.

Opinion- Editorial
The Hindu, December 2, 2009

A persistent issue

The Telangana statehood issue just refuses to go away. By embarking on a fast-unto-death protest, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and its leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao have whipped it up yet again. While the ruling Congress party has desisted from taking a clear stand on this sensitive, divisive question, Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao has not exactly covered himself with glory the way he has handled the latest phase of agitation. The first two days of his fast saw four men, including a policeman, committing suicide and violence breaking out on university campuses in the Telangana region. As for the Congress party in the State, it stands divided both at the government and organisational levels, with sections from Telangana supporting the statehood cause. The main opposition party, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which was founded by N.T. Rama Rao on the plank of ‘Telugu pride’ and had for long stood against any division of the State, switched its stance on the eve of the general elections and favoured statehood for Telangana .

At the national level, the Congress leadership has been ambivalent in its approach. It talked of evolving a political consensus on the issue and announced the setting up of a panel headed by Pranab Mukherjee for the purpose. At one stage, it even promised a Second States Reorganisation Commission to take a holistic view of demands for separate States countrywide. Precious little has been heard on both fronts since then. Given the inter-dependent nature of the three regions in Andhra Pradesh — Telangana, Rayalaseema, and coastal Andhra — chipping off Telangana will undermine the State’s integral character. More importantly, the question of capital city will prove highly contentious since Hyderabad, the State’s capital is part of the Telangana region. Considering that the recently created States — Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand — are still in need of special attention and support on the development front, there is no way the Centre will venture into another round of reorganisation involving the dismemberment of larger States in the foreseeable future. In the specific context of Andhra Pradesh, the Congress party, ruling the State and heading the government at the Centre, is in no hurry to take a clear stand on carving out a separate Telangana State. Unless a political consensus emerges in favour of the statehood demand, the Central government will be under no pressure to act. Meanwhile, the Telangana statehood, an emotional and divisive issue, will remain alive and erupt periodically, disturbing public peace and order



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