Intensified Telangana protests a Congress ploy?
First it was violence and now a non-cooperation movement. The next in the line will be rail roko starting on March 1 to intensify the demand for a separate Telangana state.
While all this is for the consumption of the public, the fact of the matter remains that the Congress at the Centre will have no option but to give into the demands of the pro-Telangana protesters.
If they do not do so, then the situation is going to be extremely difficult in the days to come.
Please click NEXT to read why separate Telangana is the only option before Congress..
Image: A pro-Telangana protestor clashes with security personnel during a shutdown in Hyderabad
Separate Telangana is the only option for Cong
If one notices, the Union government has not really done much to stop any of these agitations. All they have been doing is buying time and reliable sources say that this is nothing but a ploy to ensure that the agitation intensifies to such an extent that they would be left with no option but to announce the formation of a new state.
The more interesting question is why does the Congress want to give Telangana after so many flip flops on the issue earlier.
In fact Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had announced a year back that a separate state would be formed and then he seemed to backtrack on this.
Congress insiders from Andhra Pradesh told rediff.com that their party will have no option but to decide on Telangana.
If they do not do so then it curtains for the party in the state. All this is due to the Jagan Mohan Reddy factor.
Image: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram
Photographs: Rediff archives
The significance of Jagan Reddy
No matter how much the Congress denies in public that he is no threat to them, the fact remains that with each passing day, Jagan is eating into the vote share of the Congress in the Rayalseema-Andhra region.
Jagan has been riding on a major sympathy wave -- both due to the demise of his father (late YS Rajashekhara Reddy, former chief minister of AP) and also the fact that he has made it look that he was made to leave the Congress.
The Congress now realises that while try and salvage as much as possible in the Rayalseema-Andhra region, they will need to consolidate in the Telangana region as well.
Jagan till date has been waving the banner for a united Andhra Pradesh. This effectively means that his chances are very weak in the Telangana belt.
Jagan is playing his cards carefully and he is well aware that any public support for a separate Telangana would mean that he would be compromising on his vote share in the Rayalseema belt.
The Congress, in turn, has realised that they would need to grab this opportunity and declare a separate state for Telangana which has a sizeable number of seats in the AP legislative assembly.
They are focusing on those 119 seats (out of 294) in this belt which they feel would compensate for the loss they incur in the Seema-Andhra region due to the Jagan factor.
Image: Jagan Mohan Reddy
The 'heroes' in Telangana can eat into TRS base
In various circles in Andhra Pradesh, there is talk that the Congress high command is permitting its Telangana MLAs to stage protests.
They want it to intensify to such an extent so that they would want to make a grand declaration and walk away with all the pats from the people of Telangana.
Political observers say that if the Congress does declare a separate state then they become the 'heroes' in Telangana. This would also effectively mean that they will eat into the vote share of the Telangana Rashtriya Samithi.
In the long run the Congress hopes it will draw the TRS into its fold. It could be a merger or even a tie up, political observers point out. In addition to this they also have a tie up with the Praja Rajyam Party floated by cine star Chiranjeevi who will help them pick up a couple of seats in the other belts, especially in coastal Andhra Pradesh.
Image: Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrashekhara Rao
Cong is asking for Telangana process to start
However, the Congress would buy more time to actually declare a separate state. They would first introduce the bill in the budget session and then commence the process.
If one notices the tone of their MLAs or even the others who are seeking a separate state, it becomes clear that it is just a matter of time before the process for formation of Telangana state to start.
They feel that this would make the voter in the Telangana region happy and they would remain quiet for some time at least till the next election is over.
Image: Pro-Telangana protestors agitate in Hyderabad