Telangana, Rayalaseema have a common cause డిసెంబర్ 15, 2009Posted by Telangana Utsav in Andhra, Culture, Economy, Identity, politics, Rayalaseema, Six Point Formula, Telangana, YSR.
Telangana, Rayalaseema have a common cause: Analysts
Roli Srivastava, TNN 15 December 2009, 05:22am IST
HYDERABAD: Amidst the battle of a separate and a united Andhra Pradesh is a hypothetical solution which is logical but will never possibly become a reality. Senior political observers say that the two most backward regions of the still undivided AP, Telangana and Rayalaseema could merge into a single state as they share, not only their history of being sidelined from the state’s development work for years together, but even resources like the Krishna river.
The same observers, however, admit that state politics of the last 50 years have made this possibility not just remote but an impossible one.
But first, here’s why this hypothesis is rooted in logic. Those from Rayalaseema say they are culturally closer to people from Telangana “Besides, river Krishna flows through both the regions and so sharing of this water wouldn’t be a contentious issue,” says Anantapur-based A Chandrasekhar, founder member of Human Rights Forum, explaining how water-starved Rayalaseema has always been. Geographical continuity too is a plus working in favour of this merger.
That both regions have been sidelined (writers of both regions have not been given the much-needed respect) and people from such similar background would naturally align with each other is another logic to explore the possibility of bringing them together.
Also, both Telangana and Rayalaseema regions had revolted against being merged with Andhra. While Telangana resented merging with Andhra in 1956, Rayalaseema was apprehensive of being carved out with Andhra from Madras Presidency and had even sought promises and agreements to safeguard an under-developed Rayalaseema’s interests.
Most significantly, people of both Telangana and Rayalaseema share the common resentment for Andhra. Andhra is the common enemy for both, quip political observers, that deprived Telangana of Krishna water and Rayalaseema of the promised development. As per the Sribagh pact signed by leaders of Andhra and Rayalaseema in 1936, among the many promises was that of Andhra University to be set up in Anantapur. It instead came up in Vizag.
With this logic forming the backbone of a Telangana-Rayalaseema merger, why can it never become a reality? “Rayalaseema leaders who have played a prominent role in state politics in the last 40 years have made this possibility very difficult,” says social scientist C Ramachandraiah, who points out that these leaders never aligned with those from Telangana. Worse, they only alienated them.
“The state’s first chief minister N Sanjeeva Reddy was a signatory to the Gentleman’s Agreement which had a provision that if the CM was from one region a deputy CM would be appointed from another region,” he says, adding that while Reddy, who hailed from Rayalaseema became CM, he showed no interest in appointing a deputy CM from Telangana. “A deputy CM from Telangana would be an irritating sixth finger,” Reddy had reportedly said.
The perceptions created by these leaders is the biggest hurdle. The chief ministers of the last decade, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, both hailing from Rayalaseema, only widened the gap between the two regions, with those from Telangana ruing the diversion of funds by YSR towards Rayalaseema. “Telangana people mistake that YSR invested a lot in Rayalaseema. He was only investing in Kadapa,” HRF’s Chandrasekhar says.
The bigger roadblock would be convincing Telangana supporters. While Rayalaseema region residents are agreeable to merging with Telangana, those from the T area say a stern “No”. The faction-ridden region identity of Rayalaseema works against it being seen as an acceptable portion a new T state would want. “We have never had a common culture. There is no feeling of oneness or even a sense of belonging (to the other region). Besides Rayalaseema is ridden with factionalism and Telangana doesn’t have that,” explains professor S Simhadri of Osmania University.
Likely neighbours but unlikely partners