Dubbing the decision to form a separate Telangana State as a “short sighted move” by the Congress with its eyes on Lok Sabha polls, CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat has said. The move would lead to a string of demands for smaller states harming the country’s federal structure, he added.
“People’s sentiment in Telangana region is in favour of a separate State. But in the long-term perspective the blow it will deal to the democratic, federal structure will be serious,” Mr. Karat wrote in his column in the party’s Malayalam daily ‘Deshabhimani’.
Tracing briefly the history of struggles for linguistic States in the country after independence, Mr. Karat said the undivided Communist Party had taken a prominent role in those campaigns including the agitation for the Andhra Pradesh State.
A tract penned by Communist stalwart P. Sundarayya titled “Visala Andhra” had been the hallmark of that movement, he said.
The demands for new States also involved “regional identity” politics which would be exploited bourgeois parties to establish their spheres of influence, he said.
Formation of smaller States would also have adverse economic and political fallout as their availability of resources would be rather limited.
The Centre could easily dominate over the smaller States, as in the case of the north eastern region, without ensuring them greater economic or political autonomy, he said.
Also the corporates and vested interests could exploit the smaller States far more easily than the bigger ones formed on the linguistic basis, the CPI(M) leader added.
Meanwhile, backing the formation of Telangana, CPI’s daily ‘Janayugom’ said such a decision was inevitable to recognise rights of the people of the region.
Blaming Congress and BJP for “creating a tension” over the issue by delaying the decision, the daily in an editorial comment said “since long years of debates have established the inevitability of this, backing the decision will mean endorsing the people’s will.”
The daily, however, cautioned that the division of the State could create some problems and throw up questions concerning vital issues including sharing of river water between the two States.
“All these issues should be addressed through discussions by adopting a broad approach, setting aside double standards and secret agenda.... Also, forces of disunity should not be given an opportunity to hijack the situation to secure their narrow interests.”
The government should approach the formation of the new state not as a means to divide the people but as a measure to foster unity based on equal justice and opportunity to the people of both the regions, it added.