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Party leaders must sit for amicable division of the state డిసెంబర్ 11, 2009

Posted by Telangana Utsav in agitation, Andhra, BJP, Congress, Hyderabad, Identity, MIM, Mulki, politics, PRP, Rayalaseema, Sonia, TDP, Telangana, TRS.

Editorial, Times of India, Dec 11, 2009

Storm Over Telangana
Legislators revolt over move to split Andhra Pradesh

Now it seems to be the turn of legislators from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema to agitate on the issue of division of their state. Nearly 100 MLAs from various parties, including the Congress and the Telugu Desam, have reportedly resigned from the assembly to protest the formation of a separate Telangana state. The revolt could even reduce the Congress government in Hyderabad to a minority.

The present rebellion betrays the crass opportunism of various political parties on the Telangana issue. Barring the CPM, almost all major political parties have publicly favoured the formation of the Telangana state. These MLAs who are threatening to quit the assembly were surely aware of their parties’ stand on the issue. Why did they seek party tickets if they disagreed with the view of the party? Or did they think that the consensus on Telangana was only a pre-election gimmick to fool voters?

A large share of the blame for the current crisis must go to the Congress. The failure of the Congress government in Hyderabad to act decisively on the issue is largely responsible for the ongoing politics of blackmail that started with the fast of Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader K Chandrasekhar Rao. The Congress leadership repeatedly spoke in favour of a separate state, perhaps to appease voters and legislators from the Telangana region, but failed to keep the rest of the party in the loop. Its state leadership lacked the political authority to resolve the crisis and asked the central leadership to take a call on the issue. That a section of the Congress party sought to project the announcement for a separate Telangana as a party decision and a gift from Sonia Gandhi only weakened the much-needed political consensus on the division of the state. The Centre and the state government did not take the opposition parties in Andhra into confidence before announcing the momentous decision to divide a state that was founded on the emotional appeal of linguistic subnationalism.

Political parties must now desist from brinkmanship and work together to enable an amicable division of the state. The formation of a new state is a complex and cumbersome exercise. From personnel to finances, the assets to be divided are many. In this case both states want Hyderabad to be the capital, which has attracted large capital investment in recent times. With tempers running high, party leaders must rise above narrow partisan interests, sit together and sort out the contentious issues.



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