Centre needs to act boldly on Telangana
A situation has arisen in Andhra Pradesh in which the government of the State has not been able to carry on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. The remedy for the situation is for the President to assume the functions of the State government other than the legislature.
Kiran Kumar Reddy, Chief Minister, who had made known his opposition to the Union government’s decision to separate Telangana from Seemandhra publicly, should have been replaced by a neutral leader during the period of transition to ensure formation of the two State governments without rancour.
Kiran Kumar has formed an unholy alliance with YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy, leader of the YSR Congress, and Chandrababu Naidu, leader of the Telugu Desam Party, to thwart the UPA government’s efforts to redeem its promise made to the people of Telangana in its 2004 election manifesto and reiterated after returning to power in 2009.
The TDP politburo on 9 October, 2008, adopted a resolution saying that restoration of statehood to Telangana was a “historical necessity” and promised all support constitutionally, legally and politically. The YSR Congress, as recently as 25 June, adopted a resolution in support of Telangana statehood.
Kiran Kumar, after his lackluster stewardship as Chief Minister of composite Andhra Pradesh, wants to emerge as the unquestioned leader of Seemandhra for which he is ready to sup with his opponents. In the process, the entire State has been held to ransom.
He is acting as the Chief Minister of the 13 Seemandhra districts and not the composite Andhra Pradesh. But for the help of Kiran Kumar, Chandrababu Naidu could not have been able to undertake his fast in the comforts of the State’s Andhra Bhavan in New Delhi.
The decision to retain Kiran Kumar, a known opponent of Telangana statehood, as Chief Minister while implementing the decision to separate Telangana from Seemandhra, has made the people of Telangana doubt the Centre’s sincerity.
The strike by the government employees, shutting down the electricity plants and plunging the entire State in darkness, spreading disinformation by government agencies and disrupting public transport in this season of festivals are indications the Centre is trying to find a way to wriggle out of its Telangana commitment.
If New Delhi is reluctant to impose President’s rule in spite of the situation being ripe, the least it can do is to change the Chief Minister who is flouting its writ on the division of the State.
Keeping Hyderabad City as the capital of both the States is also not in the interest of Seemandhra whose territory at the nearest point to the capital is 200 km away. Kiran Kumar says 40 lakh Seemandhrites, like him, have made Hyderabad their home. Like other cities in the country, any citizen of India is free to settle in Hyderabad.
When the State of Andhra was carved out of the erstwhile Madras Province in 1953, there was a similar demand to make Chennai as the common capital. It was rightly rejected and the new State made Kurnool its capital. The large Telugu speaking population of Chennai decided to stay back and they continue to live in the capital of Tamil Nadu without let or hindrance.
The Seemandhrites have treated Telangana as their colony ever since it was merged with Andhra in 1956 against the will of the people of Telangana. If the UPA government is sincere in restoring statehood to Telangana, it should first remove Kiran Kumar as the Chief Minister, as he has proved to be the biggest stumbling block.