Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Ratna Column :Loose talk on ‘reunification’ can jeopardise peace and harmony in Telugu states

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The loose talk on ‘reunification’ of the Telugu states in some quarters, including the ruling YSRCP, appears to be another diversionary tactic.Otherwise, why would they want to reopen a matter that has been settled once and for all? The talk of reunification of the Telugu states, while spreading like a wild fire in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh States, has drawn flak from many quarters.

Two national parties and active political players in Telangana state viz. Congress and BJP appear to be overactive in stoking this issue. It has been alleged that possibly a conspiracy might have been hatched against the people of Telangana region who had achieved statehood eight years ago, after enduring six decades of struggle. In this context, the comments of AP government’s advisor Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, who is considered next only to CM YS Jaganmohan Reddy in the hierarchy of the ruling YSR Congress, assumes significance. Sajjala’s comments have reached every nook and corner of the Telugu states.

Those comments have resulted in confusion among sections of people in both the states.
Interestingly, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti in Telangana seems to have treated it as a non-issue, knowing well that the bifurcation matter has been settled in line with the prescribed procedure by the erstwhile UPA government headed by the Congress party eight years ago.

It is felt in some quarters that bifurcation per se took place against the will of a majority of people of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. One can draw a parallel with the issue of categorisation of reservations for the Scheduled Castes. The Legislative Assembly of undivided AP had unanimously resolved in favour of categorisation of reservation for SCs.

That unanimous resolution was sent to the Union government, hoping it would take necessary steps to fulfil the demand of one group viz. Madiga caste. But another major caste viz. Mala resisted the move. Ultimately, the Supreme Court set aside the move for categorisation of reservation for SCs by clearly stating the vital point that there are no divisions/groups in Scheduled Castes. Due to the pressure mounted from political parties that favoured the Madiga caste, the Union government appointed a commission to look into the matter, despite clarity from the apex court. After all, vote bank politics can drive parties to make possible what seems impossible. Principal political players viz.

TDP & Congress sided with the Madiga caste, irrespective of the support they had enjoyed from the Mala community. Members of the Legislative Assembly belonging to these two castes of SCs — Madiga & Mala got divided on the lines of caste in those days.

Similarly, bifurcation of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh had taken place despite the resentment of a majority of people in the Andhra region. The sentiments of these people were ignored by the Union government for political reasons. Ironically, the very same political strategy boomeranged on the Congress party and dashed its hope of ruling the newly carved Telangana State. The grand old party had enjoyed the support of people in erstwhile AP in two consecutive elections – 2004 and 2009. Besides, Andhra Pradesh was the only state in which the Congress got 30+ Lok Sabha seats in two consecutive elections. It could not reach double-digit in any state, except Andhra Pradesh.

Interestingly, people of residuary AP, having vehemently opposed the bifurcation, voted in favour of TDP in the 2014 elections, though the party had written a letter to the Union government favouring bifurcation of the undivided state.The TDP could not fare well in Telangana, despite its support for the state’s formation.

Now, if Sajjala was sincere in his utterances, he should have first talked about the joint capital of Hyderabad. Any loose talk about reunification may come in handy for the TRS in days to come as any influence of Andhra in Telangana’s affairs could be used as a political weapon by TRS.

Reunification of two Telugu states may not be possible at this juncture as people of both the states have accustomed to the changed situation. Raking up this issue at the present juncture is unwarranted. This may invite the wrath of Telangana people for whom it sounds ominous.

It is but natural that already some circles see the whole thing as part of a conspiracy hatched by Andhra people. The consequences of giving traction to the reunification theory would be detrimental to peace and harmony in both the states.

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