While not ready to reverse its decision to divide Andhra Pradesh, Congress leadership has decided to put the issue on pause mode, using the rift in the state assembly as the alibi. “Though the decision to create Telangana and hand over Hyderabad to the new state is final, New Delhi is trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hound,” claimed a political analyst.
The cautious mood was summed up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assurance to a delegation of Congress MPs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema that “nothing would be done in a haste”. Union home secretary G K Pillai kicked up a political furore on Friday by saying that Hyderabad would be the capital of Telangana. This was a statement that he was forced to retract a few hours later. According to sources, Pillai was ticked off by the Prime Minister’s Office and Union home minister P Chidambaram after Andhra and Rayalaseema MPs cried murder. Pillai later in the day said that he was misquoted.
AICC troubleshooters for the second day running were busy assuaging agitated MPs from Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra who have come out against the bifurcation of AP by promising “inaction” on the “statehood-at-midnight” declaration of Union home minister P Chidambaram.
The decision to consign the divisive matter to the deep freezer was spelt out lucidly by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in a meeting he had with 21 Congress MPs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. Mukherjee used the simple “no assembly resolution-no Telangana” logic to pacify his restive audience. “Any forward movement on the issue is contingent upon a pro-Telangana resolution to be adopted by AP assembly by consensus. Since there is no consensus among political parties, as brought out by a spate of resignations and backtracking by parties like TDP which had come around to support the separate state, there is going to be no resolution immediately. Therefore, boundaries of Andhra Pradesh will not be redrawn and there will be status quo,” a Congress MP quoted Mukherjee as saying.
“It is so simple. Why are you people resigning,” asked Mukherjee as he sought to impress upon the MPs opposed to Telangana that Chidambaram’s announcement on Wednesday night was not radically different from what Congress said in its manifesto for the 2009 polls. According to sources, home minister P Chidambram, who was present, also laid stress on “process” and “resolution” parts of his statement, suggesting that he made no promise of early or imminent action.
Mukherjee also explained that their hands were forced by the deteriorating health of fasting TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao. “You may not agree with the assessment. You may feel that his condition was not that serious. But we felt that Rao was going to die and we feared that it would have led to a calamity,” the finance minister said.
In Hyderabad, the MLAs from the non-Telangana regions continued their resignation drama by submitting papers to the Speaker in the assembly even as a beleaguered chief minister K Rosaiah told the media that the Telangana resolution would not be moved without the issue being discussed by all the affected parties. By Friday, the total number of MLAs who quit assembly touched 134.
MLAs threaten fast-unto-death: While Cong MP L Rajagopal may launch a fast for united AP in the coming two days, Nuzvid MLA Chinna Ramakotaiah and Markapuram MLA K Narayana Reddy (both TDP) have also threatened to go on a fast-unto-death if the Centre doesn’t withdraw its decision on Telangana.
Will all these lead to Samikya Andhra? only time will decide it.