N. Chandrababu Naidu remains incommunicado
The apprehension of widespread trouble caused by a likely sense of outrage over the Srikrishna Committee's report finally turned out to be a bit of an anti-climax since the recommendations were not totally unexpected.
Over the past two months, the committee members had been openly saying that their report would satisfy the aspirations of people of all the regions and dropping subtle hints that they would suggest a set of viable options. How far the report will satisfy the aspirations remains to be seen as the situation unfolds, but the committee has given a set of six clear-cut options.
What was slightly surprising was the guarded response of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao to the report. He said that the positive aspects of the Srikrishna Committee report should become the ground for creation of a separate State. He was apparently referring to the committee's observation that the demand for Telangana was per se not unjustified and that a separate Telangana State was economically viable.
Although the committee favoured united Andhra Pradesh as the “best way forward”, the Telangana protagonists took consolation from the fact that it described bifurcation of the State with Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana as the second best option.
This meant that separate Telangana was still on the Centre's table.
In fact, by giving multiple options, the Srikrishna Committee had left it to the Centre to choose one of them. For the same reason, leaders and students in the coastal Andhra region remained subdued as they realised that the committee's report was not the last word on keeping the State united. Whether their optimism is justified remains to be seen since Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has lobbed the ball back into the court of political parties of the State by saying that it was up to them to arrive at a consensus on the recommendations.
Barring pitched battles between students and police in Osmania University campus, there were no major disturbances in Telangana. Indeed, the whole region remained tense as Telangana activists organised road-blocks, burnt copies of the report and effigies of the Srikrishna Committee, attacked the Congress office in Warangal and damaged two buses in Nalgonda district. Most of these protests were directed against the Congress leadership.
In coastal Andhra region, there were no overt celebrations, barring one outside the Congress office in Vijayawada. Leaders in this region wanted the Centre to take an unequivocal stand on keeping the State united.
At the end of the day, the Congress and TDP leaders from Telangana and Andhra remained as divided as ever. Quite interestingly, Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu, who is facing an internal crisis over this issue, remained incommunicado on Thursday as did Praja Rajyam president K. Chiranjeevi.