Thursday, August 01, 2013

Telangana History: Congress Will Win But TRS May Lose?

By Sanjay Singh / INN Bureau

After initial belligerence, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has made a complete about turn over the creation of a separate Telengana state. Reddy seem to be doing what Lalu Prasad Yadav did 13 years ago when then NDA government decided to bifurcate Bihar and carve out Jharkhand. “Over my dead body”, a defiant Lalu  then said but soon allowed a resolution for the creation of Jharkhand to be moved in the Bihar assembly and also have it passed.

Reddy is doing the same after threatening to resign over the “destructive decision”, he now wants to abide by the party high command decision and “move on”.
Kiran Kumar Reddy (KKR) is a loyal Congressman and was picked by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to be the chief minister of the state in the aftermath of a towering YSR Reddy. But history is not on his sided. His ministers and MLAs are quitting but that’s not an issue here. Before the 29th state of the Indian Union comes into existence in the next few months, he should reflect on the historicity of the creation of the 26th, 27th & 28th states of the Indian Union – Chhattisgarh out of Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand out of Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand out of Bihar. All three were created on varying dates in November 2000.

It is interesting that none of the three chief ministers who presided over the parent state – Digvijaya Singh in Madhya Pradesh, Rajnath Singh in Uttar Pradesh and Rabri Devi in Bihar retuned to power after the bifurcation of their states. All three went on to lose the next elections, as and when it was held in their respective states.

Andhra Pradesh will go to the polls in April-May 2014, coinciding with the parliamentary elections. Kiran Kumar Reddy will need more than simple luck or hard work of party workers to return to power. What looks certain, at least for now, is that he is destined to the have history repeat for him as did for the three above mentioned chief ministers. But he knows that if he keeps party high command in good humor, he can still have a good career in the party even if the game is lost out for him in the home state.

Equally interesting is the fact that those who created history by being the chief minister of these three new found states – Ajit Jogi in Chhatisgarh, Nityanand Swami in Uttrakhand and Babulal Marandi in Jharkhand also did not return to power.

Another critical angle to the creation of states through long standing agitation, is that the party which toils, sweats it out, and spills blood becomes marginalized to the extent of becoming irrelevant when their efforts bore fruit and the states were created.

Uttarakhand’s kranti Dal became completely irrelevant in state of Uttarakhand. In Jharkhand, the party which led the movement Jharkhand Mukti Morcha did not remain the force it once was. Though after lot of permutation and combination its leader Hemant Soren was able to recently form a government with Congress, RJD and Independents, he and his party no longer command the clout that his father Shibu Soren akka Guruji had in this tribal region when he led the struggle for separate statehood. In Chhattisgarh there was not much of a popular movement, a Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha and a party in Gondwana has not been heard of since the state was carved out.

So the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) had better watch out. It may not have a bright future ahead. Its leader Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) will be faced with three possibilities — become irrelevant like the UKD, or float like JMM – at times aligning with Congress, at times with the BJP, or even merge with the Congress as Digvijaya Singh suggested.

After Congress decided to create a new state, his agenda and credit has been hijacked by the Grand Old Party and as such the TRS has had nothing to offer, unless the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act prepared by the Congress ministers at the centre goof it up and give him a handle to yet again rake up wounded pride or the issue of injustice. There are many who believe that a K Chandrashekar Rao led TRS could go with Congress through either merging or aligning with it due to simple political logic and emerging arithmetic on the ground.

Like the then BJP leadership of 2000, the Congress high command has good solid reasons to create Telangana. The party has cut its losses, which it would have otherwise grievously suffered if it had not bifurcated Andhra. The party may still loose badly in the 25 parliamentary seats of the parent state Andhra Pradesh, but could gain significantly in the 17 seats of the Telangana region.

The Congress high command shrewdly timed its decision – coming closer to assembly and parliamentary elections and in the process eliminating challenges from all rival political parties in the Telangana region. YSR Congress, which had been creating a buzz is completely irrelevant in Telangana due to its vociferous opposition to the creation of this state, the TDP was neither here nor there, a party without position and thus not to be trusted by the people in the region, the TRS will have the goodwill but will lose the political agenda to go to the elections, the BJP which has been championing the cause will be seen as a friend, and generate some confidence but does not have grass root organisational capacity to take on the Congress.

The Congress has done it on such a way that it emerges as a champion of granting the long standing aspirations of the people,also agreeing to drop the initial idea of including the two districts of Rayalseema in the new state of Telangana. The 2014 elections in Telangana, parliamentary and assembly could just be the way for Congress. The poll surveyors have a task clear cut out for them.