Congress yet to make up its mind

The Communist Party of India favours the creation of a separate Telangana State, as does the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Congress has yet to come out with its view.

The CPI (M) is not too enthusiastic about the creation of new States without addressing the root problem of differentiated development in different regions within each State.

Over the years, the position of the CPI has moved from its Warangal resolution of 2000 which favoured a separate regional council for Telangana to the current view that a “separate State is inevitable,” as national secretary D. Raja put it. The Srikrishna Committee report will be discussed in detail by the party's State committee in Hyderabad on Monday to take a comprehensive view on the issue, he added.

Detrimental: CPI(M)

The CPI (M) Politbureau is meeting in Kolkata on January 15 and 16 where the Committee report will be discussed, Politbureau member S. Ramachandran Pillai told The Hindu. He reiterated the party position that it was opposed to creating newer and smaller States, as it feared these would fuel similar demands elsewhere and be detrimental to the country's unity and integrity.

In Hyderabad, senior party leader Sitaram Yechury was reported to have stated that his party had conveyed its views to the government. “It is now for the government to take a decision.”

The party view has been that instead of bifurcating States, ruling dispensations should address the “root cause” of uneven growth that leads to demands for separate Statehood.

‘Report to be studied'

The Congress was rather subdued with spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi adopting the stance that the Committee report must be studied before any response. Over the last few years, the party's position has moved from being somewhat pro-Telangana – it had an alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi on this basis in 2004 – to one of caution lest a move to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh ruin its considerable political clout.

The BJP has opposed even the setting up of the Srikrishna Committee, saying it could not serve any purpose and, for the same reason, refused to attend Thursday's meeting here called by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

Strongly in favour of smaller States, the BJP is hoping the report will not be used by the government to delay the creation of a separate Telangana, senior party leader Venkaiah Naidu told The Hindu. “It is a political issue and has to be decided politically. I will say to the Congress, if you have the political will, bring the Bill and we will support you.”

If the Srikrishna Committee had been set up immediately after the 2004 Lok Sabha poll when the Congress promised a separate State of Telangana, it would have made sense, Mr. Naidu added, but the Congress simply wanted to buy more time by constituting it years later.

‘Time is now'

Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Husain said bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh will prove to be better for both the Andhra and the Telangana regions. The time was now to implement a decision favouring a separate Telangana, and if the Congress wanted to consult the BJP, which had created three new States of Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, “we say we have the expertise and we can tell them how to proceed,” Mr. Husain added.

Between 1998 and 2004, the BJP dropped its Telangana demand as its then-alliance partner, the Telugu Desam Party, was opposed to it. However, ever since it parted company with the TDP, the BJP is again supporting the demand for Telangana, hoping to make some electoral dent in the State where its hold is rather weak.