Seemandhra Vs Telangana hots up
By R Prithvi Raj | Published: 20th January 2013 09:49 AM |
The D-day is approaching fast. The Congress will have to resolve its Hamletian dilemma of “Divide or not Divide” Andhra Pradesh within the next one week.
In the sea-saw battle, the centre appears to be in favour of Telangana. It hopes KCR would merge his TRS with Congress and the resultant formation would be able to win a majority of the total 17 Lok Sabha seats in the Telangana region in the next elections.
“We will at least be able to win a good number of of the total 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana if we deliver a separate state. If not, we will lose seats in Telangana but there is no guarantee that we will win seats in Andhra to compensate the loss. Tell me, how many seats can you win in Seemandhra if the state remains united? Can you stop the onward of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy if we leave the state as it is?” Union Minister Vayalar Ravi had reportedly asked Seemandhra leaders when they called on him a couple of days ago requesting him to see that the state remains united.
As Ravi had pointed out, the Congress leadership reportedly looked at the other side of the coin. It, sources said, is prepared to lose some seats in Seemandhra, if Telangana is announced? They have inputs that Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has become a powerful force in the region and after the June by-elections last year which he had swept, three Congress MLAs had joined his bandwagon and 11 more are waiting in the wings. Krishna district MLA Jogi Ramesh, who has already made up his mind to join the J camp, said: “I am ashamed to be in the Congress which cannot protect the interests of the Seemandhra region.” The party is aware that after Telangana is delivered, the exodus will be unstoppable. As the announcement of Telangana would trigger feelings that the Congress had meted out a raw deal, Jagan Mohan Reddy is likely to take full advantage of it and would do incalculable harm to the party in the 2014 elections. Nonetheless, Telangana is a safer bet for the party, party insiders say.
Unlike in the past, this time around, the Congress appears to be armed with answers to the questions that the Seemandhra legislators are raising. When a Seemandhra ministerial delegation warned that the state government might collapse in case a Telangana State was announced, Ravi, replied curtly: “We are aware of that. Those of you who want to leave the Congress, do so it immediately so that we can have our new team in place to fight the elections in 2014.”
With the writing on the wall becoming clear, the Seemandhra Ministers’ delegation came back to Hyderabad to explain to colleagues their “horror story.” Minister T G Venkatesh, a hardcore advocate of united Andhra Pradesh, said, “The mood of the high command seems to be in favour of Telangana state since it wants to help the party MPs and MLAs in Telangana from losing their hold completely.”
Their colleagues were disconcerted but put on a brave front, adopting a resolution at a meeting that nothing short of united AP is acceptable. They are planning to go to Delhi on Jan 21 to influence the party high command against delivering Telangana.
One of the main problems the Congress would have to face will be sharing of river water. Though the Seemandhra leaders raised the issue, Ravi told them that there is always a way to solve a problem and mentioned how Karnataka and Andhra use Krishna water in accordance with an accord. “Water and status of Hyderabad would finish the Congress in Seemandhra region if Telangana is announced,” Law Minister Eerasu Pratap Reddy who hails from Kurnool district, says. As this is a delicate issue, secretary in the Union Home Ministry RK Singh discussed it with AP Chief Secretary Minnie Mathew, Director General of Police V Dinesh Reddy, Irrigation and Energy Principal secretaries Aditya Nath Das and M Sahoo at Delhi on Thursday.
The Congress has not lost sight of the likely law and order problem and offered to send forces if the state needs them in combating unrest after announcement of the centre’s decision on Telangana. Former minister and staunch integrationist Gade Venkata Reddy said: “The Congress should not take any considering only short-term political interests. It is not proper to divide the state only to contain Jagan Mohan Reddy.”
As people of Andhra would yell blue murder if Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital is announced since Hyderabad is the place where medical facilities, educational avenues and employment opportunities abound, the Congress is also understood to be looking at other options like persuading KCR to explain to the people the need for according a special status to Hyderabad like making it a quasi-state like Delhi or Puducherry.
While this is so, the Telangana leaders are looking at Delhi with great expectations. “No force can stop formation of Telangana state. Only some vested interests from Seemandhra are trying to stall the process. We too will persuade our high command not to be influenced by Seemandhra leaders,” said former PCC chief and hardcore Telangana advocate K Kesava Rao.