Telangana to counter Jagan
First it was violence and now a non-cooperation movement. The next in the line will be Rail Rokho starting March 1 to intensify the demand for a separate Telangana state. While all this is for the consumption of the public, the fact of the matters remains that the Congress at the centre will have no option but to give into the demands since if they do not do so, then the situation is going to be extremely difficult in the days to come.
If you notice, the union government has not really done much to stop any of these agitations. All they have been doing is buying some time and reliable sources say that this is nothing but a ploy to ensure that the agitation intensifies to such an extent that they would be left with no option but to hand over the state.
The more interesting question is why does the Congress want to give Telangana so badly when it has been doing so many flip flops on the issue. In fact Home Minister, P Chidambaram had announced a year back that a separate state would be given and then he seemed to back track on this.
Congress insiders from Andhra Pradesh told rediff.com that their party will have no option but to decide on Telangana. If they do not do so then it curtains for the party in the state. All this is due to the Jagan Mohan Reddy factor. No matter how much the Congress denies in public that he is no threat to them, the fact remains that with each passing day he is eating into the vote share of the Congress in the Seema Andhra region. Jagan has been riding on a major sympathy wave- both due to the demise of his father and also the fact that he has made it look that he was made to leave the party.
The Congress now realizes that while they will try and salvage as much as possible in the Seema Andhra region, they will need to consolidate in the Telangana region. Jagan till date has been waving the banner for a united Andhra Pradesh. This effectively means that his chances are very meek in the Telangana belt. Jagan is playing his cards carefully and he is well aware that any public support for a Telangana would mean that he would be compromising on his vote share in the Rayalseema belt. The Congress in turn has realised that they would need to grab this opportunity and declare a separate state for Telangana which has almost half the number of seats in the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly. They are focusing on those 119 seats in this belt which they feel would compensate for the loss they incur in the Seema Andhra region due to the Jagan factor.
In various circles in Andhra Pradesh, there is talk that the Congress high command is permitting its Telangana MLAs to stage such a protest. They would want it to intensify further to such an extent so that they would want to make a grand declaration and walk away with all the pats from the people of Telangana.
Political observers say that if the Congress does declare a separate state then they become the heroes in Telangana. This would also effectively mean that they eat into the vote share of the Telangana Rastriya Samithi. In the long run the Congress would take into its fold the TRS. It could be a merger or even a tie up, political observers point out. In addition to this they also have a tie up with the Praja Rajyam Party floated by cine star Chiranjeevi who will help them pick up a couple of seats in the other belts especially the coastal region of Andhra Pradesh.
However the Congress would buy more time to actually declare a separate state. They would first introduce the bill in the budget session and then commence the process. If one notices the tone of their MLAs or even the others who are seeking a separate state it becomes clear that all they are asking for is the process to start. They feel that this would make the voter in the Telangana region happy and they would remain quiet for some time at least till the next election is over.