By T S Sudhir
When Chandrababu Naidu was chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, his bete noire, then leader of the Opposition, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, used to derisively call him `chief minister of Hyderabad’. Sometimes, even chief minister of Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills, given Naidu’s zeal to convert that area of the super rich into a Singapore.
That’s just about the geographical elbow room that pro-Telangana activists seem willing to give Naidu. He stepped out of Hyderabad into Parigi in neighbouring Ranga Reddy district on Monday, only to be greeted by a barrage of stones at the breakfast table.
Just like Jaganmohan Reddy in May. Jagan’s Odarpu Yatra to Warangal district was derailed at Mahbubabad railway station, again by a barrage of stones. YSR junior had to beat a hasty retreat to Hyderabad, inconsolable, seething at the gumption of the TRS to flash a `No entry’ board to stop his tour in Telangana.
Pawan Kalyan, the puli (tiger) in Chiranjeevi’s household too had to cow down before Telangana’s self-proclaimed rulers. Activists objected to the word `Komaram’ in his film’s title, `Komaram Puli’ because Komaram Bheem was a revolutionary from Adilabad district who fought against the Hyderabad Nizam. And the Chiranjeevi family, by virtue of being in favour of integrated Andhra Pradesh, were deemed unworthy of using the name.
The producers bought peace by removing `Komaram’ even as Chiranjeevi accused pro-Telangana students of demanding money in return for a peaceful screening in Telangana. It wouldn’t have been worth it, since the film did not manage even a whimper, leave alone a puli’s roar.
Is there a pattern here? Of course there is. Anyone who is seen as opposed to Telangana will not be allowed to step into the region. Period. If you do not like it, so be it. Just like the stone-pelters in Kashmir want the Army out, those fighting for azaadi from Andhra Pradesh, don’t want the anti-Telangana elements to show up.
The TRS believes this `Quit Telangana’ movement against the likes of Naidu, Jagan and Chiranjeevi will whip up pro-Telangana sentiments. TRS leaders tell you, Naidu has to make his stand clear on Telangana. Otherwise he will not be allowed to set foot. Fine. Jagan and Chiranjeevi made their stand clear, what about them? No, they are opposed to Telangana, we won’t allow them here either. So much for these political parties that swear by the democratic process, where people with differing stands can co-exist.
Telangana votaries need to remind themselves that the people of the region have already taught Naidu a lesson. All 12 Telugu Desam candidates lost their deposit in the Telangana bypolls in July. The TDP cadre is on the verge of running away, lock, stock and bicycle to the TRS camp. Naidu is fighting a battle to somehow keep his flock together even if it means venturing into Telangana in the face of violent protests. Atleast, this way he keeps his men engaged in polemics and streetfights with KCR’s men. He can still maintain a stony silence on Telangana, even in the face of stones.
But by hitting at the leader, the TRS is actually doing Naidu a favour. His cadre rallies behind him and by thus excluding the rank and file of the Telangana TDP from the movement, the TRS is only weakening the cause.
The Telangana votaries of course are indulging in these protests with an eye on the Srikrishna committee, which is entering Q4 of its term and almost everyone in Teluguland is convinced, its result would neither be profit nor loss for the stakeholders in present-day Andhra Pradesh.
December 31 is when the four wise men and the lady on the Srikrishna committee will deliver, what they believe, will be the most authoritative and comprehensive document on the status of Andhra Pradesh. It is likely to be a multidimensional and multidirectional report, offering “optimal” solutions to the issues that beset the state. It is highly unlikely that a yes or no to Telangana will be spelt out in black and white. So does that mean a return to the chaotic days of December 2009?
KCR has already declared that it will be civil war if Srikrishna does not recommend statehood to Telangana. And there will be nothing civil about it, be assured. But be also assured that if his party does carry out the threat, tactically and politically, it will be a blunder as it will only be playing into the hands of those who are opposed to Telangana. A state of lawlessness gives the administration the perfect handle to deal with the situation as a law and order problem.
And how prepared is the political leadership to tackle January 2011? Very ill-equipped is the answer. With Rosaiah presiding over a divided cabinet, the government is in the grip of a regional viral fever and mostly on auto pilot.
In fact, at a recent interaction between representatives of political parties with industry leaders, the latter asked the netas, what is in store for the industry in 2011. None of them had an answer.
Having covered politics for the last twenty years, I am sure what happens or does not happen in Andhra Pradesh next year, will depend more on the behind-the-scenes deals that will be struck by the dramatis personae. Telangana will be or will not be formed, depending on whose political and business interests it serves. Not by the number of stones that are thrown at X, Y or Z.
So when the going gets tough, the meek will be sent packing. If the government does not demonstrate it has a spine, Andhra Pradesh could be in for a spell of President’s rule in the very near future. Which will essentially mean two police officers will be in charge. Governor E S L Narasimhan, who was a 1968 batch AP cadre IPS officer and the present DGP, Aravinda Rao, who without doubt is one of the best brains in khaki now.
That to me, seems the only option that will be available with Delhi, given the paucity of political talent at its disposal. And till December, the unfriendly bouts and the 24×7 verbal diarrhoea of politicians will continue.
You can also find T S Sudhir’s blogs at http://www.thesouthreports.com
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