TO DIVIDE OR NOT - THE 'OLD' DILEMMA
Those living outside of Andhra Pradesh might be surprised what the issue with the division of AP is. I was born in Guntur District in coastal AP and lived there twenty years and made Hyderabad my home in later life for forty years before leaving AP for good. I was a live witness to the 1969 agitation in Telangana and in 1973 in Coastal Andhra, when many lives were lost. I have no opinion about the politics being played there but, with most of my working life in Telangana, the fact can not be denied that it is too under developed in at least five districts even now.There are many geopolitical reasons for this. So,too Anantapur and Kurnool in Rayalaseema, Srikakulam and partly Vizianagaram too lag behind in North Coastal AP. Certain pockets like Palnadu in Guntur Ditsrict and agency areas in Godavari District too are very under developed. I am not competent enough to comment whether the division was justified or not. But, the way it was done certainly smacks of political expediency , lack of foresight and administrative acumen. Here, I feel it appropriate to provide certain facts by which we can have an insight into the political game played by the Congress with other parties too not helping.
The state was ruled by CMS hailing from Congress from Rayalaseema for 5666 days, from TDP from Rayalaseema including NTR (who contested from Hidupur) for 5361 days. (Total 11027 days). CM s, all of whom are from Congress from Telangana ruled 3845 days and CM s from Coastal AP ruled 4098 days . It is clear Rayalaseema got major chunk but is still under developed and Telangana almost equaled Coastal AP but is still under developed. Out of 4098 days ruled by coastal area, a single CM ,Sri Brahmananda Reddy ruled 2777 days, that too before 1971. Afterwards their representation was by stop gap arrangements only, except N.Janardhan Reddy who ruled for 662 days. Figures speak for themselves. Most of the time Congress was ruling at the centre too. Why was not a decision taken then when Coastal Andhra rulers rarely ruled AP after 1971 and other regions had strong leaders to become CMs? Why was a case not made for a separate Rayalaseema too or Rayala Telangana all these years? This is an unanswered question. Why did the CM s not make efforts to develop their regions or develop all districts in their regions equally when power was in their hands?
The 1st SRC recommended Telangana be kept as Hyderabad State and that after 1961 elections it could be merged if 2/3rd majority in Assembly favored it. What acted on the Government of the day is mired in mystery,but the recommendation was not considered and an integrated AP was formed with a Gentlemen agreement. In fact, Nehru in all wisdom expressed the view that it was a matrimonial agreement with a divorce clause if the parties cant live together. Even if the entire state speaks Telugu there is a little diversity between regions in culture and development. That settles the issue to a major extent. In 1969, at the end of the gentlemen agreement period, people in Telangana thought the provisions were nor implemented in right spirit and what happened was history. In a book written by T.N.Kaul,ex- secretary of External Affairs and published in 1982 he mentioned that Indira Gandhi,in principle,accepted formation of Telangana but was dissuaded as the issue of Hyderabad was still in the UN and could not be taken up for consideration. In 1979 the Hyderabad case was closed by the UN.
In 1972 a “Jai Andhra Movement” was started in Coastal Andhra area against the upholding of the Mulki rules in Hyderabad area by SC. Surprisingly, Telangana leaders who spearheaded the separatist agitation in 1969 were silent on separation at that time. Mulki rules were replaced with a six point formula and the then CM of AP, P.V.Narasimha Rao, from Telangana was forced to quit by his own party men. From then on till KCR revived the Telangana agitation, the issue was not raked up by both the parties to the dispute. In the meantime the capital Hyderabad grew beyond bounds and secured a place in the world map too. Contribution of all the three regions in this can not be underestimated.
Now the questions that elude answers are as follows.
- Why was 1st SRC recommendations set aside?
- Why was Hyderabad not made a UT in 1956 itself if a case was before UN?
- Why did the Telagana politicos not join chorus with their counterparts in Coastal area in 1972?.
- Why did the Politicos both sides (now three regions) remain silent till 2001 and helped only one City, Hyderabad to develop?Why was the potential in all three regions not exploited, to make one of them capital easily now?
- Why, after 2009, when Congress decided to announce separate state formation,( accepting in principle the demand for separate state) an attempt was not made to build a new capital in Coastal AP or Seema or both places so that confidence could have been restored?
- Why was a sudden announcement made without any groundwork or any supporting figures for separation and equitable distribution of assets, after keeping the issue in cold storage for decades?
- Why did they appoint a Committee with Antony as head when they say “there is no going back on Telangana” even while Congress CM and Ministers are opposing it with Hyderabad in limbo?
- If, ultimately they decide Hyderabad as UT, dissatisfying the other side, was not precious time of 66 years lost for both sides?
- Does not tokenism on all issues facing the country throw the nation in endless and unwanted turmoil?
- If it is a fait accompli that a separate Telangana demand were justified,why did the Congress allow the issue drag for forty four years and then, within forty four minutes announce a decision throwing the whole state (Not one area,please note; all sides are skeptic) into turmoil? Or why was a 2nd SRC not formed in 2004 itself which they indicated during elections that time? What happened to the Sri Krishna Committee Report and why was it not discussed threadbare?\The worst part is till date no overt attempt was made to assuage the agitated people of the three sides. Unless Congress answers these questions, a state loses its glory and the Congress is sure to lose heavily in the State. Congress and Congress Party alone has to blame for the state of affairs today and all other political players are, at best side shows. It is high time Congress accepts this,announce elections early and leave this decision to a responsible Government in 2014, who favor separation but with respect to both sides. I hope they can do a better job even in dividing the state as they are doing to unite the nation under one umbrella of securities of all kinds! Or, if Congress feels it can convince the three sides for an amicable settlement soon, without eating its words again, it will be most welcome. JAI HIND!
DISCLAIMER: I have no personal interest in the division or keeping the state united as I already suffered in youth, my children are well settled beyond this affair and my grandchildren might build their own world when they grow up. But my heart goes out to the youth who lost their lives and are losing their lively hood. Hope rulers and other political parties wake up from deep SLUMBER and settle the issue soon. One youth from Telangana Region tweeted to me," Are you pro-Telangana or United State?" I replied "I am pro-my stomach now and that the youth should not suffer anymore as I suffered mine!"