Congress fears worst of both worlds
The Congress central leadership is said to be seriously upset with its Telangana leaders for their inability to convert its decision to grant statehood to the region into a groundswell of support for the party.
Four months after the CWC came out with its July 30 announcement in favour of a Telangana state, reality is slowly sinking in for party top leaders that the intended political benefit is unlikely to accrue without having the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on board and keeping the MIM in good humor--a proposition possible only if an undiluted T-state becomes a reality.
Except holding a few poorly attended meetings and lobbying for the post of the chief minister even before the T-state is formed, Congress leaders of the region have so far not given an impression to the people that their “rightful rights” will be protected. On the contrary, what they seem to be conveying is that they are too happy with half a loaf instead of the whole, and in the process, yielding ground to the TRS. According to sources, information gathered by Delhi suggested that whether the T-state happens or not, it is the TRS that holds the patent for the movement and it has only consolidated its position.
It repeatedly argued that putting in place “unconstitutional” provisions not applicable to any other state only amounts to insulting the people of the region.
The MIM is the other party which has now adopted an aggressive posture. It genuinely fears that keeping any crucial subject in Hyderabad under Central control will seriously hurt the interests of Muslims, who constitute a significant percentage of the city’s population, in the event of a change of guard at the Centre.
“Except a few leaders, including some MPs, there was hardly anything that Congressmen from Telangana did for the cause of statehood. However, from the time the decision came, at least two dozen leaders want to occupy the gaddi! While people may be grateful to Sonia Gandhi for having conceded the demand despite odds, lack of support to the party candidates will not yield the desired results. This is what is worrying us,” a senior leader admitted.
The Congress central leadership also does not seem to be buying the argument of T-Congressmen that they can afford to ignore the TRS now that Telangana state is delivered. It reportedly came to the conclusion that bagging a majority of seats in the region--either Lok Sabha or Assembly--will be possible only if a Congress-TRS combine is stitched together and the advantage will be greater if the MIM too is roped in.
But, the key issue here is that this will depend on the form of the T-bill that will be tabled in Parliament as any special provisions that Delhi might consider to appease Seemandhra will provide a handle to the TRS to play tough. In such a scenario, it will be a neither-here-nor-there case for the Congress, the party having already lost its base in Seemandhra. “I am aware of the ground realities,” was Sonia Gandhi’s reported reply when this insight was provided to her by a senior leader.
Top congress leaders are now racking their brains on how to ensure that the spirit of giving Telangana state is not lost even after accommodating the concerns of Seemandhra.