'Businessmen MPs from Andhra spreading fears over Telangana'
Dissatisfaction and anxiety are the dominant emotions among the people of Rayalseema and Andhra Pradesh after the announcement of the formation of Telangana state. The fear is more among those who are settled in Hyderabad, which is contiguous with Telangana.
However, the people of Telangana have assured their Seema-Andhra counterparts that there is nothing to fear about and noting bad can happen to the people once the state is bifurcated.
Madhu Yashki Goud, senior Congress Member of Parliament from Telangana, says these misconceptions are being spread by MPs from Rayalaseema and Andhra.
In this interview with Rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, Goud also says that the time for jubilation has not yet come and one needs to wait for the passage of the bill as the “MPs from the non-Telangana regions are capable of anything”.
You must be elated that your efforts have finally paid off.
The decision is historic no doubt. However, it is not yet time for jubilation and we would like to wait for the bill to pass. We have had bitter experiences in the past and would like to wait until all formalities are completed.
There are fears among the people of Rayalaseema and Andhra who are settled in Hyderabad. How do you address these concerns?
The capital sharing would be for a period of ten years and the Congress is right in taking this decision. We, the MPs from Telangana, too told the party high command that we were agreeable to this. Ten years may not be needed for them to set up their own capital, but this is an outer limit.
With regard to the fears among the people that they may be driven out, I would call it unjustified. People of Telangana have no constitutional right to drive them out and neither is it practical. They have every right to stay and no one is going to ask them to leave.
These are the fears that have been spread by some MPs, who I call “businessmen MPs”. The likes of Lagadapati (Rajagopal) or Rayapaty (Sambasiva Rao) and few other uncouth businessmen MPs from Andhra are spreading such fears.
They are propagating unfounded fears in the minds of innocent people only to safeguard their business interests. Even the Srikrishna committee advises that if bifurcating the state is inevitable then the fears among the people should be addressed and people should be safeguarded.
We understand the difficulties involved in setting up a new capital. It cannot be done in months. There is a historic need to live together even after the division. We have to ensure that the people are safeguarded at any cost.
Let me tell you ever since the agitation intensified in the past ten years, no one from the Seema-Andhra belts have been targeted in Hyderabad. Remember that the people of Telangana gave up their own lives and did not take the lives of others.
This itself shows the intent and how everyone is welcome here. People from various places have been living here for over 400 years without any problem. And for the business community, those who are doing valid business have nothing to fear about.
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Image: Telangana supporters seen protesting in Hyderabad in this August, 2009 photograph (Inset) Madhu Yashki Goud
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
'Seema-Andhra MPs will do everything to stall Telangana'
The people of Telangana have complained that their lands have been grabbed. How does the new Telangana government propose to address this problem?
Those who have benefitted illegally have reasons to worry about. These land grabbers are the ones who actually opposed the division of the state. Property worth Rs 4,500 crore has been purchased at Rs 400 crore illegally. Obviously the people of Telangana region are going to oppose this. I do agree that the entire system cannot be cleaned up, but we will try our level best.
You say it is not the time for jubilation as yet. Do you still believe that Seema-Andhra leaders will try and stall Telangana formation?
I have no doubt that they will adopt every method to stall the formation even now. Many leaders from the Andhra belt are experts in furthering their lives through illegal means.
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Image: TRS supporters celebrate in Hyderabad on Tuesday night
'TRS has no option but to merge with Congress'
Do you see the Congress-Telangana Rashtra Samithi merger happening?
There is no doubt about the merger. Let me be honest and tell you that the sentiment of the people is our primary concern. But we also want to strengthen the Congress party in Telangana. The TRS is a like-minded party and they will come with us.
When (Congress general secretary) Digvijaya Singh reminded (TRS chief) K Chandrashekhar Rao about the merger it was more to do with the fact that communal parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party have to be stopped.
None of us want the Congress and the TRS to remain separate and the pro-Telangana votes to split. I have spoken to the political Joint Action Committee for Telangana and they have said that even if KCR backtracks, they would support us.
I have been given a complete assurance of a merger. Moreover, KCR also knows that his agenda is over with the announcement and once the state is formed he cannot sustain his party.
The TRS has no cadres at the village levels and they were sailing through the elections all these years only because they had an agenda. They will be forced to merge and this will stop the communal forces from growing.
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Image: TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao speaking to the media on Tuesday evening
'Modi's presence in Hyderabad will make no difference for BJP'
Narendra Modi will be in Hyderabad soon. Do you see that changing the prospects of the BJP?
Modi cannot make any major change. Moreover this time he cannot champion the cause of Telangana too. His presence will make no difference to the BJP which does not have a single MP in this region. They do not stand to gain in Telangana as well.
Despite their stand on Telangana for such a long time they never benefitted. The Congress on the other hand always intended to give Telangana. We were mum at times and there were delays, but the intention to carve out a separate state was always there.
What about Jaganmohan Reddy and his YSR Congress party?
He is not a force at all in Telangana. He was a force as long as Andhra Pradesh was united. Now once the demerger happens, he is left only with the Reddy votes from Rayalaseema. The caste polarisation after the split will not help him one bit.
Do you think the Congress will become weak in Seema-Andhra following this decision?
Congress will not weaken in Seema-Andhra. The Congress was already on the backfoot in these regions following Jagan Reddy’s entry. He is now eating into the Reddy votes traditionally with the Congress.
The Kamma community has always been with the Telugu Desam Party. While on this front the Congress is weak, I however see the coming together of the Kapu community which will help the Congress.
The Kapu community has never had a chief minister and it has always been the Kammas or Reddys. They would see this as an opportunity to elect a CM from their community and the Congress has Botsa Sathyanarayana and Chiranjeevi who are from this community. This community will come together and help the Congress in those regions.
Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi