'If Cong doesn't carve out Telangana, some other govt will'
As the people of Telangana await a possible positive decision by the Congress on the statehood issue, some say by Tuesday, no one who is part of the Telangana movement is showing any signs of joy yet as they feel that the ruling party may take a decision but will delay the formation.
Professor M Kodandaram, chairman of the Telangana Political Joint Action Committee, says that they still do not have faith in the Congress as they feel that the formation will be delayed.
In an exclusive interview with Rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, Professor Kodandaram, however, points out that Telangana will be formed as a peoples’ movement cannot be ignored for long.
It appears as though the dream of a separate statehood will become a reality very soon. How do you feel about this?
A decision will be taken on Tuesday and that is what we get to hear. However, the real joy would be when the bill is passed in both Houses of Parliament. Until that happens, we are not taking anything on the face value.
The people of Telangana do not have faith in the Congress. What the party intends to do is take credit politically without giving much thought to the sentiments of the people.
There has been talk about the formation of a Rayal-Telangana. Is this acceptable to the people of Telangana?
No, this is not acceptable at all. We too have heard that the Congress is trying to add Kurnool and Ananthpur districts to Telangana. This will not be accepted at all. How does this even work? It is going to disturb the region.
Several times many leaders from Telangana have pointed out that there is a cultural similarity in all the ten districts of Telangana and adding two districts from Rayalseema for sake of some political gain would not be the right thing to do.
This is a fight for the identity of the people of Telangana and there is a sentiment attached to it. If a Rayal-Telangana is formed, we will surely oppose it.
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Image: Osamania University students clash with the police during an agitation for Telangana in Hyderabad (Inset) Prof Kodandaram
'No compromise on Hyderabad'
Why do you think there has been so much delay in the formation of Telangana?
This is largely due to vested interests. A majority of people want Telangana to be formed and it is the handiwork of a few persons that has led to all this delay. These persons, especially from coastal Andhra who have plenty of money and are well-connected in politics, are the ones who have been stalling the formation of Telangana.
These are persons who do not understand the sentiments of the people of Telangana and their concern is their business interest only.
Hyderabad has been a bone of contention throughout this issue. Would you be agreeable to share the capital or make it a Union Territory?
We do not accept either of these options. Why should there even be an issue regarding Hyderabad? It is part and parcel of Telangana and it should automatically lie with the region.
In fact at a meeting held on Sunday, we had decided that we would not accept Hyderabad as a Union Territory or even as a common capital.
I think this is an issue that the Congress needs to consider carefully. At no point in time are the people of Telangana even suggesting that the investors in Hyderabad will not be safe. We believe in solidarity and think that there needs to be an understanding on the subject.
However, in the long run, Hyderabad should not be accorded any special or Union Territory status and ought to remain in Telangana itself.
Here I must also address the concerns that are being raised by the industry. There are investors not only from Andhra but also from the rest of the country. The new government in Telangana will not be foolish to drive out the investments. This is not about driving away people, but providing the people of Telangana a fair opportunity and giving them their due.
Moreover, let me also clarify that the industrialists are going away not due to the movement, but due to bad policies of the government.
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Image: Police forcibly removes Telangana activists during a dharna in Hyderabad
'Sentiments and struggle of Telangana people will not be forgotten'
There is a proposal to change the name of Telangana state to Hyderabad state.
There has been no decision on that and it is being discussed. No final call on this has been taken.
There has been a major agitation that has been planned. Do you still propose to go ahead with it?
Yes, there will be a maha dharna programme. An announcement is not sufficient, and as I pointed out a bill needs to be passed. This agitation is to make the central government aware of the sentiments of the people.
There has been a considerable amount of pressure exerted by the Seema-Andhra leaders. Will this not create further trouble?
These are blackmail tactics and will not work. If the Congress does not carve out the state then some other government will. As I said the sentiment and struggle of the people will not be forgotten and the state will be formed.
Image: Women activists participate in a march for Telangana in Hyderabad