Mainstream, VOL LII No 9, February 22, 2014
Emergence of Telangana as the 29th State
Saturday 22 February 2014, by
With both Houses of Parliament having passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, 2014, Telangana is going to eventually become the newest—29th—State of the Indian Union. After sixty years of tenacious struggle the people of the Telangana region have, defying all odds and sacrificing countless precious lives, been able to secure for themselves a separate State. This is indeed of historic importance and the people of Telangana are justifiably feeling jubilant.
No doubt the people of Seemandhra are suffering from a sense of loss. They wanted an integrated State and did not desire the division or bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. But practically nothing was done to help remove the sense of alienation from the minds of the people in Telangana. Being close to the reality and able to feel the pulse of the masses in Telangana, the CPI had after 2000 demanded a Rs 10,000-crore special development package for Telangana, priority for irrigation and indus-trialisation, more infrastructure, education, health facilities besides restoration of the Telangana Regional Committee, but such pleas fell on deaf years. The powers that be in Andhra Pradesh were literally unmoved.
As CPI General Secretary Sudhakar Reddy explained in an article in the Independence Day Special of this journal (Mainstream, August 17, 2013),
The ordinary people in the Andhra region whole-heartedhy desire a united integrated State. They think Telugu people should be in one State for allround development. But alienation in Telangana is so deep that an artificially forced composite State cannot exist any more.
At the same time he pointed out:
Telangana is not going to be a small State. It has a 3.5 crore population with 10 big districts. The CPI is firmly of the opinion that the Telugu people should continue to have cordial and fraternal relations even after the geographical political division of the State.
Now that Telangana is going to become a separate State, all efforts should be made to help the Seemandhra people overcome their bitterness due to the bifurcation. The Union Government and major political parties have already taken some concrete steps in that direction.
However, the uproarious scenes witnessed during the passage of the Bill in the two Houses have once again demonstrated the depths to which our MPs can sink. Yesterday the Rajya Sabha Secretary-General was quite badly manhandled by a TDP MP who was trying to snatch a paper from his table. And today the Trinamul and SP members in the Upper House went on a shouting spree while tearing copies of the Bill during the discussion which found the TMC and CPM members closing ranks to oppose the legislation. As the 2014 Lok Sabha elections are approaching, all parties—notably the Congress and BJP—are seeking to draw electoral dividend. The Telangana Bill is also being used for that purpose. Other happenings of late too have highlighted the political parties’ attempts in the same direction.
Nevertheless, despite all such sordid developments, the emergence of the Telangana State does offer a ray of hope that in the final analysis people’s aspirations cannot be suppressed for all time to come.
February 20 S.C.