The editorial “Way out in Andhra Pradesh” (Dec. 25) has rightly concluded that a just and progressive solution to the Telangana issue can be found within an undivided Andhra Pradesh. The Centre would do well to work towards evolving a national consensus, after due consultations with all political parties.
It is unfortunate that a resourceful State has been thrown into turmoil on the issue of bifurcation. We should learn a lesson from Jharkhand, which is facing instability ever since it was created as vested interests have relegated development to the backseat.
The editorial is right in saying that besides the Congress and the Central government, all political parties in the State should accept special responsibility for correcting the situation. The people of Andhra Pradesh, irrespective of the region, are emotionally attached to Hyderabad. As such, the problem as well as the solution lies in Hyderabad. It should, therefore, be declared a Union Territory and made the capital of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
In view of the law and order situation and the mass resignation of MLAs in Andhra Pradesh, the imposition of President’s rule seems to be the only way out at the moment. When the situation calms down, the government can take ameliorative measures for the Telangana region. Another SRC will only open a Pandora’s Box. The concluding sentence of the editorial “... a just and progressive solution can be found within an undivided Andhra Pradesh on the basis of regional autonomy and big, concentrated development efforts” are worth the letters in gold.
The situation in Andhra Pradesh has gone from bad to worse. The Centre should have first sought a consensus vote on the Telangana issue. By making an announcement on December 9 that the process of forming a separate state would be set in motion, and taking a u-turn two weeks later, it blundered. A whole lot of people are divided in Andhra Pradesh and other regions are clamouring for autonomy and bifurcation.
What Andhra Pradesh is witnessing today is a political game. Every party is trying its best to use the Telangana issue to consolidate its following. The demand for a separate state stating backwardness as a reason is unacceptable. If the leaders of a region feel it is neglected, they should ask for special packages. But our politicians want to exploit the issue to remain in the limelight. Another disturbing aspect is the involvement of students in the agitation. They should understand that they are being used by politicians.
It is not only the Centre that is to blame for the unrest in Andhra Pradesh. The political leaders of the Telangana region are equally responsible. They should understand that bifurcation is not the solution to backwardness. A separate state of Telangana will lead to unrest in the entire country, with demand for more states.
Any attempt to understand the Telangana issue must take into account the political economy of Andhra Pradesh. The history of the post-Independence Telangana is littered with failed packages, unimplemented agreements, and repeated betrayals. The ongoing agitation for a Telangana state is a legitimate and democratic manifestation of the frustration and anger of its people who have suffered inequality, injustice and discrimination. The Centre needs to overcome political pressures and expediencies to realise the just cause of the people of Telangana.
All these years, the people of Telangana have expressed their desire to have a state of their own. But they were told that the issue needed to be studied. Successive governments and the intelligentsia have taken six decades to study it. It is now a settled matter, with the Centre agreeing to initiate the process of forming a separate state. There is no need to study the problem afresh. A second SRC can surely be constituted — but for studying the demands from other regions.
That the Andhra Pradesh government is unable to resolve the grievances of the people of the Telangana region even after 50 long years is reason enough for creating a separate state. That MLAs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, representing business interests, promptly protested against the Centre’s December 9 announcement shows that Telangana will not get a fair deal as long as it remains part of Andhra Pradesh.
The conclusive part of the editorial would have been relevant 40 years ago. There has been no sincere effort by successive governments to find a progressive solution within an undivided Andhra Pradesh. The more this was recommended, the more it was ignored by those at the helm. There is no point in going over what the earlier rulers did or did not do. The Telangana issue cannot be put in cold storage.