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Is this the final agitation for Telangana?

Last updated on: July 5, 2011 13:27 IST

Image: A pro-Telangana supporter shouts slogans during a demonstration in Hyderabad
Photographs: Reuters
Bandh demanding statehood for Telangana, protests on streets and shutdown in the state is what Andhra has been witnessing for years now. But what is it that makes Tuesday's agitation different? Vicky Nanjappa analyses

The political turmoil in Andhra Pradesh surrounding the demand for the formation of Telangana state continues as more resignations from Congress leaders from the region are expected on Tuesday.

Around 14 MLAs from Telangana who had refrained from submitting their resignations on Monday are not going to hold back, said sources, in what may be a fatal blow for the Kiran Kumar Reddy government.


CM countered Rayalseema, Andhra leaders plan to quit

Image: Andhra CM Kiran Kumar Reddy
Even as the resignations of the MLAs from the Telangana region continued, there was a plan by the Congress leaders from Rayalseema and Andhra regions to tender their resignations in a bid to counter this movement.

Some of these leaders felt that the Union government may just buckle under pressure and hand over a separate state and the only way to stop that was for them show their discontent. However, this plan was scuttled at the last moment by Andhra Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy.

He told his MLAs from the Andhra and Rayalseema regions that if they quit it would mean the end of the party in the state, since party rebel Jagan Mohan Reddy could swoop in to take advantage.


K Jana Reddy to meet Sonia

Image: Senior Congress leader K Jana Reddy says no comprimise on Telangana
Sources in the Congress said that senior leader K Jana Reddy will be meeting Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday to discuss the issue. Although the Congress high command is trying its best to avoid the formation of Telangana for now, the MLAs and MPs continue to remain adamant and will not take back their resignations unless a favourable decision is made.

The meeting with Sonia Gandhi will be a last ditch effort by the high command to pacify the protesting leaders from Telangana.

Jana Reddy had made it clear that during the meeting no compromise formula will be worked out. "Our only demand is the formation of a state and we will not settle for anything less. The people have taken to the streets and many have lost their lives. We will not let their efforts go to waste. The Centre has no option but to declare a separate state," he said.


Telangana's biggest complaint: Chidambaram

Image: Home Minister P Chidambaram
The recent meeting to discuss the Telangana issue have seen a common complaint -- against Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The people of Telangana feel betrayed by his statement on December 2009 that the process of formation of Telangana had begun, but since then there has been no progress over the issue. However, Chidambaram had clarified that he was only voicing the view of the government not his personal views.

Another factor that has irked the leaders from Telangana is the home minister's arrogant behaviour during one of the meetings. "We deserved to be treated with respect," the Telangana leaders had said.

'Decision on Telangana bill was a unanimous one'

Image: MPs hold posters demanding a separate Telangana outside the Parliament in February
Photographs: Reuters
The last straw was Chidambaram's remark on Monday that consultation on this issue is a continuous process. He had also said that two parties had not attended this process and hence the consultations had to continue.

The leaders from Telangana have ridiculed this statement stating that he is only buying more time. "He should remember that two days before he made the statement assuring us of Telangana, there was a unanimous decision in the Andhra Pradesh assembly that a bill on Telangana needs to be passed. It was on the basis of this resolution that he made the statement in December 2009. So what consultation does he speak of again," the leaders asked.

The two parties that the home minister was referring to were the Telegu Desam Party and the Communist Party of India-Marxist. While the TDP was part of this unanimous resolution, the CPI-M has no seats in Telangana.


Telangana leaders in no mood to budge

Image: Telangana leaders raise slogans after resigning on Monday
Photographs: Snaps India
Moreover, one must also take into account the election manifesto of all political parties during the 2009 elections. Each one has promised the formation of Telangana. Is this not sufficient for the Union government, asked the leaders.

During the meeting with the party high command, Telangana leaders will also make a point that a consultation process cannot be changed everyday.

At the moment it does not appear that the Centre has many oprions to pacify Telangana MLAs and MPs. The only option they have is to commence the process for the formation of a separate state.