As the Telangana agitation for Statehood takes centre stage, a book titled “Battleground Telangana: Chronicle of an Agitation,” authored by veteran journalist Kingshuk Nag, was released here in the Capital on Friday followed by a panel discussion where a range of opinions on the agitation and related issues were expressed.

Releasing the book, Public Interest Litigation crusader Prashant Bhushan said the “secret” eighth chapter of the Srikrishna Committee Report exposed the “fascist bend of mind” of its authors, and that the Committee acted in a “partisan” way. He said the democratic aspirations of the people required decentralisation of power and participatory democracy.

Nizamabad Congress MP Madhu Yaskhi Goud, who recently resigned from Parliament, observed that a vertical division had taken place across every sphere of activity in the State. “Even my fellow Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh are not on speaking terms with those from Telangana.”

Justifying his decision to resign from Parliament, Mr. Goud said the action reflected the wishes of his constituents and represented the aspirations of his electorate. Regarding the status of Hyderabad if Telangana is given Statehood, Mr. Goud said he was open to debate on the issue and that steps would be taken to protect the interests of investors in the city.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman reaffirmed her party's pro-Telangana stand which she said emanated from the party's stance that smaller States allowed for better governance.

Demanding a quick resolution of the issue, Ms. Sitharaman said: “Andhra Pradesh has suffered badly for the last two years. Administration has come to a standstill. A State that was prospering, a city that was so hospitable — everything has been undone.”

Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader K. T. Rama Rao, son of TRS supremo K. Chandrasekhara Rao, said the Srikrishna Report Committee which cost the “exchequer Rs.22 crore, not even worth the money it was printed on”. He pointed out that the Telangana movement had the support of political movements from the “ultra-Right like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to the ultra-left like the Maoists”.

The Hindu Chief of National Bureau Siddharth Varadarajan said worsening of the Telangana agitation for Statehood, the 2010 summer unrest in Kashmir and the blockade in Manipur by Naga protesters, all of which caused immense hardships to the people, stemmed from a lack of political will to address these issues. “It is intolerable that the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the UPA chairperson do not articulate their views on issues. While the Congress is ducking problems hoping they will go away, this delay is leading to hardening of positions.”

Senior journalist Manoj Mitta moderated the discussion.

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