One look at the Telangana issue and you could easily say it is one big mess. Leaders have resigned, the government has a solution on hand but is waiting to announce it and then there is also the sentiments that the entire state of Andhra Pradesh has attached to the capital city of Hyderabad.
While speaking to various people regarding this issue, one gets the general impression that they want this issue to be over with since it is becoming messier with each passing day. Today the Congress has a formula on hand and that is to hand over Telangana and retain Hyderabad as a common capital for at least ten years. The agitators from Telangana and also the intellectuals had always opposed sharing a capital, but today there is a slight change in that stand.
Dr Sangam Prithviraj who has been spearheading the students movement on this issue says, “ do they want time to develop their own capital? Well then if that is the case let them take that time. We are not cruel people and do understand their sentiments. They are bound to feel insecure about losing Hyderabad since 80 per cent of the real estate is controlled by the people of Seema-Andhra,” he also adds.
G V L Rao, political analyst who has been watching this movement closely says that all that talk about a united Andhra Pradesh is trash. The issue is just Hyderabad. There is no doubt that real estate is the biggest issue over here and they would try and safeguard Hyderabad in order to protect their interests. Over the years they have invested a lot. Another issue is what the common man from the belts of Andhra and Rayalseema face. They have an emotional attachment for this city and take pride that this IT hub is their capital. Hence they would be fine if Hyderabad is retained as their capital too, he also adds.
The Congress has a lot at stake over here. In the beltbelts of Andhra and Rayalseema, Telangana is not an issue at all. The people over there expect a YSR kind of rule which this government has not been able to provide. This is what is giving Jagan Mohan Reddy the edge. Hence for the Congress to save all the three regions of Andhra Pradesh, not only would they have to grant Telangana, but would have to utilize the next three years providing better governance in the other two belts. Look at the manner in which YSR managed the votes from Telangana. He was never in favour of the movement, but did govern well and even the common people of Telangana did give him their votes.
The proposal by the Congress to hand out a separate state and then retain Hyderabad as the capital is a significant step. However what I feel is that their proposal to keep Hyderabad as a common capital only for a fixed amount of time would not go down too well with the people of Andhra and Rayalseema. Ultimately the government would have to ensure that Hyderabad is left out and made into a Union Territory. The people of Seema and Andhra would not want their real estate or their businesses to be part of Telangana. The movement has always been a violent one and they would not feel safe if Hyderabad remains in Telangana.
Keshava Rao one of the MPâ€™s who has resigned was trying to meet with leaders of Rayalseem and Andhra to discuss this issue. Sources say that with the bone of contention remaining Hyderabad, he and the rest of the leaders wanted to hold a meeting and sort this issue out.
Now this brings us to the question as to who can bell the cat. The formula offered regarding Hyderabad needs to be a feasible option for all the three regions. The people of Telangana may accept a stop gap arrangement, but the question is will the people of the other two regions accept the same? Rao adds that this is when K Chandrashekara Rao would come into the picture. The Congress will look to him to address this issue to his supporters. The Congress does realize today that KCR is on the back foot following the resignations of all these leaders. In fact one could say that following the resignations of these MLAs, it is KCR who was seen as the lone crusader who has lost the most. If Congress were to announce a separate state then it would be advantage them. Hence in my opinion KCR would look for a tie up and would largely depend on the Congress. This the Congress would use to its advantage and ensure that he would be the one who would convey the message regarding a common capital or a Union Territory status for Hyderabad.
Rao adds that the leaders from Andhra and Rayalseema for the sake of everyone speak about a united Andhra Pradesh. However the issue is nothing but Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh does not have a major city like Hyderabad and this city has emerged as a major capital. It is an IT hub and is also seen as an employment opportunity for one and all from the state. The people of Seema-Andhra fear that if Hyderabad goes away then they could face discrimination. Apart from the huge real estate interest there is also a psychological issue regarding this place. He also adds that the people who have invested would want this issue over with. The agitation has killed the real estate prices and the sooner there is a solution, the better it is for their investments.
For the Congress addressing just the Telangana issue does not solve their headache in Andhra Pradesh. Political analysts say that at the moment Telangana is a non issue in Seema-Andhra and all these people would be content if Hyderabad is retained as the capital. If the Congress does manage this then their headache in so far as these two regions will be sorted out a great deal.
However this would not be the way to counter Jagan. As far as Andhra and Rayalseema are concerned he has an edge and is way ahead of the Congress today. However there are a couple of concerns with Jagan and that is whether he would be able to use this advantage. There are some cracks in his party with some of the leaders feel that he is only interested in his personal success. However these are not issues that the Congress could bank on since Jagan does enjoy major support from the public.
His statement on Telangana during the plenary of his party was a clear indication that he has no real fascination for this issue. They were evasive by nature which indicates that he wants to focus more on the rest of Andhra Pradesh. If the Congress does go ahead and declare Telangana then they would clearly beat him in this belt. While this would end the issue during the elections in the other two belts, the issue regarding the capital city could be raked up by Jagan. If the Congress decides to make Hyderbad as the common capital only for a limited period then Jagan could well say that the Congress was trying to cheat the people of Rayalseema and Andhra who have contributed so much for the city.
A decision on Telangana would safeguard the Congress in this region, but then for them to win in the rest of Andhra Pradesh against Jagan they would have to not only settle the issue of Hyderabad, but would have to ensure that Kiran Kumar Reddy becomes a functioning Chief Minister.
Rao adds that they will have to first settle the issue of Hyderabad as a permanent common capital or a Union Territory. Then they would have to get over the Jagan fixation and focus on governance, he also adds. Jagan at the moment is promising the moon and the Congress would have to do more than that to beat him.
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