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

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Reaping the Whirlwind

The anger visible on the streets of Seemandhra needs sympathetic attention.

The protests which have been raging in the coastal and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh for over two months now have surprised most observers for their intensity and duration. An angry reaction from the people of Seemandhra, as the non-Telangana part of Andhra Pradesh has come to be termed, was on the cards once the creation of a separate Telangana was formally announced. However, the manner in which this protest in Seemandhra has sustained itself for this long and the inability of the central government to address it shows that it reflects popular anger of a fairly unprecedented nature. It will not do to suggest that this is only the result of back-room politics or some conspiracy.

Over the past decade and more, every political party in Andhra Pradesh has used and abused the Telangana statehood demand for immediate political gains. Prior to the 2004 elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party ignored its own resolution demanding Telangana so as to gain support from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). In 2004, the Congress, under Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, had a pre-poll alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) that promised a separate state within a year of coming to power. After their victory, many assumed that Telangana would now be a reality and there were reports of land speculation in the Vijayawada-Guntur region in anticipation of the fact that the new capital of Seemandhra would be located there; Hyderabad was assumed as the capital of Telangana. That promise was quietly buried by the Congress in various committees, leading the TRS to ally with the TDP which now passed a resolution asking for a separate state of Telangana.

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