The Srikrishna Committee Report, which had outlined six options, itself said the first three options were non viable. On the first option for “maintaining status quo”, the committee said it was of the unanimous view that it would not be a practical approach.
The second option is for bifurcation of the State into Seemandhra and Telangana by converting Hyderabad as Union Territory. The third option is for bifurcation of the State into Rayalaseema, Telangana and Coastal Andhra. The fourth option is also considered non-viable. It suggests bifurcating the State into Seemandhra and Telangana with enlarged Hyderabad Metropolis as Union Territory.
Outrightly rejecting the best option put forth by the Srikrishna Committee suggesting status quo and the formation of a Telangana regional council, TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao said that the people of the region will accept nothing less than a separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital.
“I earnestly appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to dilly-dally on the issue and fulfil the promises made on December 9 and 10 last year and grant Telangana a separate statehood. Do not test the patience of the people of the region. If this does not happen, nobody will be allowed to live in peace,” thundered KCR where his supporters as well as other regional leaders had gathered to discuss the fallout of the Srikrishna Committee Report in the State capital. Stressing on self-respect and self-rule as the major demands of the people of the region, the TRS chief warned that he would not hesitate to sit on a fast unto death again, in case there is no forward movement on the creation of Telangana. “If political battalions enter the field, there will be no need for the police battalions stationed there,” he said. He ridiculed the recommendations of the report by saying that by suggesting the constitution of a regional council for Telangana, the committee itself was acknowledging that it was underdeveloped as compared to the other regions.
Multiple options : None viable
The multiple options preferred by the committee are, not acceptable to any of the stakeholders. While the united Andhra activists said the sixth option was the best and most exhaustive, pro-Telangana groups are livid with ‘neither here nor there’ suggestions. As the committee came out with optimal solutions as per the terms of reference, the need of the hour for the Congress-led UPA government is to resolve the contentious issue with a political decision.
With onus of decision back on the Centre, New Delhi is watching the situation closely, aware as it is that the report falls short of expectations of TRS and the youth who are at the vanguard of the Telangana movement. Home minister P Chidambaram appeared aware of the hit that UPA’s credibility has taken following the December 2009 volte face, as he told the all-party gathering that discussions will show the “way forward”. He said, “You will note that I have repeatedly used the phrase ‘way forward’. I do so in order to reiterate government’s intention to find a just and practicable solution.” Congress came under fire from both sides of Telangana with opponents of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh blaming its statement on December 9, 2009, promising Telangana for the crisis.
The cleft of Telangana has made Congressmen worried that the party can at best think of minimising losses in future. The compulsions of Telangana debate have jolted Congress to the long-term impact of the acrimonious debate, with even continued status quo not promising returns in anti-T regions owing to Jaganmohan Reddy’s challenge. Congress MP’s from the state have told the party top that they will not be able to enter their constituencies if the state was not given.
Perhaps BJP was the only party that acted with the better foresight having rejected the constitution of the committee itself, is now demanding for early creation of Telangana saying delay in formation of the state would harm the interests of both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana region. The party also accused the Congress-led UPA government of acting in an “irresponsible and childish” manner on the Telangana issue. The Srikrishna Committee has given an elaborate explanation on why it sees a united Andhra with a statutory mechanism to speed up development of Telangana region along with the creation of Telangana with Hyderabad as capital as the only two workable options. BJP demands tabling a Bill for the formation of Telangana state irrespective of the panel recommendations which are anyway more chaotic.
Muslims in Hyderabad, who constitute 41 per cent of the population in the metropolis, do not want a separate state of Telangana to be created, the Srikrishna Panel said noting that they would feel more secure in the larger state of united Andhra Pradesh. However, their community members in rest of the Telangana region are in favour of carving out a separate state from Andhra Pradesh as they feel they have remained backward in a united state and will have more access to educational and employment if a separate state is formed. “Expectation of an increase in reservation benefits (to 12 per cent) in the new state is one of the major reasons for their demand for separation,” the Committee said in its 461 page report.Currently, Muslims in Andhra Pradesh receive four per cent reservation benefits under the OBC (E) category. In a Telangana state, the Muslim population would account for about 12.5 per cent, but when Hyderabad is excluded, this goes down to 8.4 per cent. In a Rayala-Telangana state, Muslims would remain with similar strength at about 12.5 per cent, whereas in United Andhra, Muslims are just above 9 per cent. “A separate Telangana state could expose them to communally sensitive Hyderabad and Hindu-biased rural population of the region,” the report said.
In its analysis on opinions of Christians in the Telangana region, the report says Christians from Telangana have demanded a separate state, arguing that most development benefits in the state have gone to coastal Andhra.”
Reservations are the issue here as coastal Andhra Christians (mostly Malas) have done better than Telangana and Rayalaseema Christians,”the report said.Christians in non-Telangana regions want Andhra Pradesh to remain united. “They contend that they have all contributed to the progress in Hyderabad by investing a large section of their manpower (labour force) and capital to an extent. They feel that the culture and customs in the two regions are similar,” the report said.