ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Telangana: Nation, State and the City

 

The issue of a separate state for Telangana will continue to fester even as the central government led by the Congress continues to procrastinate on a decision on it. The Congress’ electoral calculations, which seem to govern its attitude toward the issue, cannot afford to continually ignore the popular aspirations of the people in the region, as further dithering only complicates the political situation in both Telangana and in coastal Andhra.  

The Congress after hastily announcing the initiation of the process of formation of a separate state of Telangana on December 9, 2009, has been procrastinating on the final decision, as only the Congress could do. Part of the reason for this is that Congress continues to look for a win-win strategy in both the regions – Telangana and coastal Andhra, and it could not find one, in all these years. It has now realised that it has reached a “lose-lose” situation, in both the regions of Andhra Pradesh. The single most important reason for Congress for at-least revisiting the issue is the realisation that in spite of holding up the issue of formation of a separate Telangana, it has steadily lost its popular base in the districts of coastal Andhra, which has instead shifted, in a rather dramatic manner to the newly formed YSR-Congress.

 As for Telangana, it had already yielded the political space to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), and now there is the additional predicament with the possibility of the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party, especially after they won in Mahabubnagar district, in the recent by-elections held in March 2012. The Congress was therefore staring at a rather bleak future in both the regions of the state, which had contributed the largest number of MPs, in the previous general elections. The leadership of the Congress now realises that it cannot possibly imagine coming anywhere close to regaining power at the centre, without returning a sizeable number of MPs from Andhra Pradesh. As part of the new calculations for the forthcoming general elections, the party seems to be counting on the decision to grant a separate Telangana, as one of its electoral strategy, alongside implementing popular schemes such as direct cash transfers. This visible pressure on the Congress to take a favourable decision then needs to be attributed as much to the people of the Andhra region, as for the unrelenting struggle of those in the Telangana region.

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