Telangana : Sonia, Rahul, KCRs – compromises of competing public claims డిసెంబర్ 12, 2009Posted by Telangana Utsav in agitation, Andhra, BJP, compromise, Congress, corruption, Culture, elections, GHMC, Harish, Hyderabad, Identity, KCR, KTR, Mulki, politics, Rahul, Rayalaseema, Sonia, Telangana, Uttara Andhra, YSR.
Aditya Sinha, New Indian Express, 12 Dec 2009 12:27:48 AM IST
Of course India needs smaller states for better governance (though Dantewada does not appear to have benefited much from the creation of a separate Chhattisgarh; instead the various tribes there now face the wrath of our shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later home minister, P Chidambaram). Very few people doubt that. What is debatable is having a States Reorganisation Committee, that too populated by academics, to go into the matter. It is this kind of lazy suggestion that gives intellectuals a bad name. We are a proudly political society; and as oligarchic as our politics might have become, politics is still the best path of achieving compromises between competing public claims.
The problem with the Congress midnight decision to begin the process of separating Telangana from the Rayalseema and coastal Andhra regions of the existing state is that it happened at midnight. Only undemocratic things (like 1975’s Emergency) happen at midnight. Matters resolved through democratic politics are usually announced in Parliament or by a government spokesman before office hours are over. So immediately you know that Congress president Sonia Gandhi was up to no good (this whole charade of government not consulting party fools no one). Whether she did it to ensure no future emergence of a leader as defiant as the late Y S R Reddy (who completely shunned her advice on this year’s state cabinet formation) or to make good on a promise she herself had made to the people of Telangana several elections ago, the more important point is that she tried to ram it down the collective Andhra throat. And now she’s in a fix.
In the spirit of citizenship, reductio ad absurdum would like to help Sonia out of her difficulties. We realise that while withdrawing her decision will upset Telangana, enthusiastically pursuing her decision will upset the rest of the state. And in any case, the genie is out of the bottle; even this columnist is thinking of one day heading back to Bihar to demand a separate state of Vaishali (to be bordered by Bhojpur on one side and Magadh on the other). So here are some suggestions for Sonia to wriggle out of this statehood pickle:
Appoint Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan to decide on Telangana: Did you know that Justice Liberhan’s first two names are the same as our prime minister? I did not. Maybe the late P V Narasimha Rao (a native of Telangana) had a fetish. But I digress. Justice Liberhan took 17 years and 48 extensions to submit a report on the Babri Masjid demolition; by the time his report was leaked, nobody cared. In fact, Ayodhya is now only an issue for Hindus, who wonder when the Ram temple will be built; Muslims, who have had a whole lot of other headaches since 9/11 and 26/11 have decisively moved on. So you could say that this “puny judge”, as Arun Jaitley described Liberhan in the Rajya Sabha this week, applied Narasimha Rao’s trademark way of handling a problem: he let it die a natural death. The report would not have been noteworthy had it not been Justice Liberhan’s mystery-novel-surprise-ending decision to indict former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee. No wonder Jaitley called it a “national joke”.
Sonia can play the joke on us once again by re-employing Justice Liberhan to decide on the separation of Telangana. By 2026 we can expect a report that will probably once again lay the blame on that pseudo-moderate Vajpayee. And after that, if the “puny judge” is still alive and raging at the character-questioning press, she can ask him to look into Gorkhaland, Bodoland, Bundelkhand, Vidarbha, Harit Pradesh, etc, etc.
Send Rahul Gandhi on a Youth Congress membership drive: Well, he does seem to believe that going around villages and distributing application forms and sleeping in Dalit huts are the solution to the less-than-complex problems of modernity and the evolving nation-state and terrorism and economic growth and energy security and global warming and the nuclear family and urban blight and infrastructure deficiency and food-grain production and Maoist violence and the Kashmir problem and the Dalai Lama’s successor. Oh, wait: I made a mistake; Rahul told Parliament the nuclear deal was the solution to India’s energy security needs.
Obviously then, if Rahul Gandhi goes on a padayatra (at least), he should be able to allay fears of the people of Telangana and gently persuade them to let the process of statehood be a gradual, consultative one. Trouble is that he is busy enrolling members in Tripura, a Left-ruled state in the Northeast. It is not a large state, quite like some of the other states he has ventured out, like the Punjab. He made a whirlwind visit to Tamil Nadu a few months ago and we haven’t heard anything from him or his fractious party since. His discovery of India is much, much slower than his great-grandfather’s; at the rate Rahul is going, he will probably get around to doing a membership drive in Telangana in… 2026.
Let P Chidambaram declare War on Telangana: And why not? He’s already declared a War on Poverty and a War on the National Security Advisor (“Mike” Narayanan, who has retaliated by leaking anything to do with the home minister, like the secret Kashmir talks). One more war should not make a big difference. Of course, he should be focused on eventually interrogating David Headley, the Pakistani-American who was one of the 26/11 conspirators, or on preventing the ISI from bumping off any more pro-talks Kashmiri separatists. Instead, the home minister looks as if all the media praise about his “toughness” and “no-nonsense” has gone to his Progeria-sized head (see Amitabh Bachchan in Paa); and do remember that he is the one who started this separate statehood turmoil by shooting off his erudite mouth.
It also fits in with his prognosis for the problems of the tribes of that sinister “red corridor”: development and police action cannot go hand-in-hand. Chidambaram will tell the good people of Telangana to forget any development and quiet down. You can be sure Telangana will not only comply, it will beg Sonia to take back her promises for a separate state. Chidambaram can then add another feather in his cap.
Sonia can apply any (or all) of these solutions, things will calm down, and we can go back to business as usual once again. Sonia can then begin work on the real problem facing the country, which is not how to facilitate better governance of India, but how to facilitate better governance of her party.
About The Author;
Aditya Sinha is the Editor-in-Chief of ‘The New Indian Express’ and is based in Chennai