Wednesday, February 5, 2014



WILL THE BILL PASS MUSTER?


Division of AP State is inevitable, if not immediately, in near future. The Telangana Bill is ready to be presented in the Rajya Sabha on 10th February, as per the Home Minister. We can not rely on his words in view of our past experience. High drama is being played on streets of Delhi by the "puppeteer" Congress  leaders from AP including its own CM. There are two questions here. "Why is it being introduced in the RS, instead of LS where UPA has numbers. Is it to show BJP/TDP in bad light, instead of YSRCP? The bigger question will be, "What next? Will it be passed?" While protagonists of Telangana are over optimistic politically, on ground there are no celebrations which shows people are neither too enthused if it were passed nor are too depressed if it fails muster. After all, all the women in the country were not too depressed that "Women reservation Bill" was not passed. In a similar way, politicians on the other side, except a few that want to reap financial benefits that flow through bifurcation, too are over optimistic about the failure of the bill. On the ground there is not much opposition to bifurcation. People are neither too enthused about bifurcation bill not being passed nor too depressed that it would be passed. Then what is this sound fury on Telugu News Channels about?  There are about one thousand political leaders on the Telangana side., who are optimistic to be the CM in case the state is formed. They have followers in and outside media. Likewise, there are a thousand businessmen turned politicians from coastal Andhra who invested heavily in Hyderabad who fear they will lose the booty if they lose Hyderabad. So, they raise the bargaining pitch with the Congress High Command for grant of all the tenders for the new capital on that side. They have followers in media and outside. The cross talk of these few people on both sides is that is about the sound and fury.

Is a common man that has come to Hyderabad and settled there for work afraid of bifurcation? Is a middle class man that has purchased land or building in Hyderabad afraid of bifurcation? Is there fear for security of Andhra people in Hyderabad? Is the film industry that has settled in Hyderabad for good. afraid of attacks on them? For all these. the answer is, "no". None is afraid of any repercussions. Hyderabad is one of the safest and the most peaceful cities in the country. There is no animosity between people at the ground level.Why was such fear sought to be created? One politician, who appears he is all for Telangana, has left the cat among the pigeons the day division was announced. He knows that once the state is formed new players come on the scene and he will be relegated to background. What happened to Sibu Soren? So he wants the pot boiling. He said all Andhra People living in Hyderabad should leave forthwith. So, the debate was initiated. It is anybody's guess that the said champion of Telangana in active connivance with Congress, himself may stall the bill from being passed, if he wants so. It is a fait accompli. This may be the first and foremost hurdle in the passage of the bill. Or for allowing the state to be formed he will place himself in such a position that he will occupy the CM chair. But the 1000 and odd CM aspirants from Congress will never allow that.

BJP is in a position to call the shots now. Narendra Modi made deep inroads even in rural segments from Coastal Andhra side. He is the 'blue eyed' boy now. In Telangana the party has a sizable presence already and Modi enhanced the pitch. BJP supported division of the state from the beginning and would have proceeded with the formation of Telangana along with other states but for opposition from TDP. Now, it can not go back on its principled stand. If we go by the statements of top BJP leaders for the past week, we get a feeler that BJP will not allow the bill to be passed in the present form. It will bring such amendments that Congress will not be able to accept without antagonizing the politicians from Telangana. So the amendments fall through and so too the bill. BJP leaders, in no uncertain terms, are saying the formation has to wait till 2018 until a new capital is constructed the other side. This news is sweet to the businessmen - politicians of Andhra as they get the tenders and from Telangana too as the concept of joint capital does not arise. So, the champion of Telangana, bending backwards to support the BJP argument and ally with them instead of with dying Congress too. are bright. He has two advantages. One, he will be in the news as a champion for four more years and later he will be the uncrowned king. With TRS+TDPTG Forum on one side and TDP the other, BJP will be able to decimate Congress and YSRCP in one shot. So, with overt support of TDP and cover support of TRS, BJP will most probably stall the bill. As no one is untouchable in politics, TDP might veer around to the arrangement in its present and future interest. So the bill goes and with it the congress goes.Now Congress can not openly ally with YSRCP also, as doing so will be suicidal in Telangana region. 

Knowing this, why did Congress risk the introduction of the half baked bill? Congress wants TRS to merge with them so that they can get some more seats in addition to the 50+ they are confident of winning in the country. TRS is not committing itself to merger. So, there is a hurry to introduce the bill, say they are the champions of Telangana but their hands are tied. At least there will be a face saver. The second reason is to show BJP/TDP in bad light. Even though there is strong opposition from their own party MPs to the bill Congress is constantly targeting BJP/TDP with this in view. If the BJP stalls the bill Congress can go round blaming them for stalling Telangana and reap benefit. After all Congress knows it is sailing against the wind and is fast sinking. Any straw that is found will be caught hold of by the party. One more reason why Congress is so brazenly pushing the bill is that they have a feeling the bill will be stayed by courts even before introduction, at which point they can hit the road saying despite their best efforts they are not in a position to pass the bill. "Vote us back, we will give you Telangana", will be their slogan again. Since 1969 Congress has been playing the same game. 

BJP will not, on its own, oppose the bill but will allow congress politicians bicker among themselves and try to throw spanner in the efforts of Congress to make them villain. Most other parties already announced they will not support any other bill than 'vote on account' and Congress too seems not making sincere efforts to convince them except doing lip service. Will the bill pass the muster in Parliament with so many imponderables? We have to wait and see who wins this game of one-up-man-ship in AP's murky politics.


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Disclaimer: The author is neither a strong protagonist nor antagonist to division. But he is one of the majority who think that the issue be resolved forthwith. Politicians on both sides reaped maximum rewards by keeping the issue alive since 1956. Champions of TG, United Andhra or Hyderabad as UT have no real interest in the future of both regions. They are interested in their own welfare. Let there be a lasting solution. But that can not be done in a hurry as is sought to be done by Congress for few votes and seats. 

There is no sanctity to the views of the author, as in India and specially in AP anything might happen. The author's mind too is as hazy as the AP politics. Hence, no hard feelings.