With the unanimously managed decision in the Congress Working Committee, it is certain that in due course Telangana will be a reality. In an attempt to nullify the Jagan Reddy factor, Sonia Gandhi led Congress has timed the decision to perfection. It was a longstanding and justified demand and is welcomed in many quarters, but with obvious exceptions of Rayalseema and Coastal Andhra. The supporters of Vishalaandhra have already put rest of the Andhra on fire. Due to the decision based on electoral calculations many points need to be pondered.
Firstly, Telengana was part of the UPA government’s manifesto in 2004 and 2009. Why did the government procrastinate with this decision till it lost the credibility and ground in Telangana to TRS and rest of Andhra to Jagan Reddy? By taking this decision in the last leg of the tenure, UPA is running away from the responsibility of creating and sustaining the State. Juxtapose this to the process that occurred in the year 2000, when the then NDA government carved out three new states. The Vajpayee government not only ensured the creation of states in the early phase, as per the commitment in the manifesto, but also supported the process of institutionalisation and development in those states.
Secondly, the whole process of consultation, headed by ‘Mr’ irresponsible Digvijay Singh, is under serious clouds. Forget about the alliance partners and Opposition parties, there seems to be no consensus about the future and nature of Andhra Pradesh among the Congress leaders itself. It is to be noted that the Vajpayee government had appointed Shri Lal Krishna Advani, the then Home Minister, for the consultation process and not some party functionary. Hyderabad is proposed to be the capital of both Telangana and Andhra for ten years, what after that? Hyderabad is very sensitive to communal tensions with presence of Owaisis and new settlements of Rohingya Muslims. Once law and order of this sensitive area is made the joint responsibility of both the states, it will become nobody’s responsibility. Besides, pro-Telangana activities have provided space for Naxalites to spread their wings in the region. Government needs to work on effective mechanism to address these problems of internal security. All the concerned parties need to be taken into confidence to minimise the negative repercussions of Telangana formation.
Thirdly, the Telangana decision has opened a Pandora’s box in other parts of India as visible in case of Gorakhaland and Bodoland. The Government is seemingly unwary about this. It is not a question of Telangana but of sub-regional identity, uneven development and political aspirations. After Independence, we accepted the model of linguistic reorganisation. Are we now going to challenge that? Earlier new State creations were on the basis of cultural identity and uneven development. For the first time the logic of linguistic basis is shaken with the creation of Telangana. Then, what about demands for the creation of Gorkhaland, Bodoland, Vidarbha, Harit Pradesh and many more? A plan of tackling the upsurge of such demands is completely missing.
Lastly, the core question of governability and political stability needs to be answered while creating new states. Earlier experiences are a mixed bag. While Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand have shown some amount of stability and sustainability, Jharkhand has become an appalling case of political maneuvering. We should accept population, resources and cultural-linguistic similarity as the basis of State reorganisation. The process of reorganisation should ensure social cohesion, political stability, financial prosperity and viability and most importantly, strengthening national integration. Otherwise, such State creation becomes another activity of scoring political points for garnering votes.