By T S Sudhir
When I noticed jawans of the Border Security Force at the Andhra Pradesh Assembly on Thursday morning, I remember wondering if they are not out of place.
I was wrong. In fact, they couldn’t have been positioned at a better place. What with borders drawn by our honourable legislators. He is Telangana. He is Andhra. She is from Rayalaseema. He is from Andhra settled in Hyderabad but supports Telangana. She lives in Hyderabad but does not support Telangana.
This brusque finger-pointing took an ugly turn. The victim was Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, an IAS officer-turned-politician and MLA and President of the Loksatta Party. His crime was apparently his stand in favour of a unified Andhra Pradesh. The pink panthers of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti saw red and manhandled him.
A lesson had been taught to all those who oppose Telangana. These MLAs had interpreted KCR’s slogan of ek aur dhakka, Telangana pucca rather literally.
The honourable TRS MLAs weren’t sorry for their dishonourable deed. Far from it. The justification was that JP, a `pseudo intellectual’, had to bear the brunt of the people’s resentment and anger for his stand on Telangana.
JP should have seen it coming. Just half an hour before, IPS officer-turned-Governor ESL Narasimhan was branded anti-Telangana and accused of submitting anti-Telangana reports to the Centre. So TRS MLAs, with support from the Telugu Desam, attempted to tear his copy of the address on the opening day of the budget session. His cop instincts were tested in the face of attempts by TDP MLA Revanth Reddy to knock off the Governor’s chair. The self-proclaimed daddy of good behaviour and decorum, Chandrababu Naidu watched his partymen’s athletic antics in embarrassing silence.
The opposition MLAs claimed the marshals had roughed them up as well when the cameras weren’t rolling. I noticed TRS MLA Harish Rao walk out of the Assembly sans his slippers. He had lost them trying to boot out the Governor. Just five minutes later, he and fellow MLAs were to lose their shirt with JP.
One passionate proponent of Telangana likened the situation a la Egypt. That when people feel oppressed and repressed, a day will come when patience will run out. That is what is happening in Telangana, he reasoned.
Ironically all this happened on a day when the Telangana region, spearheaded by its two and a half lakh government employees, started a non-cooperation movement which meant the babus would go to office but wouldn’t work, would travel in buses but not buy tickets, would consume electricity but won’t pay their bills and so on. On paper, sounded just the ideal way to mount pressure on the government to move ahead on Telangana, a vibrant demonstration of people power through civil disobedience.
But the cloak of Gandhism did not last even a couple of hours and muscle power was in full display.
All this doesn’t augur well for a state already badly divided on regional lines. If street fights are to decide the future of a state, then the people of Andhra Pradesh will most certainly be on the road.