The Congress’ central leadership has given itself two months, authoritative sources said, in which to “complete its dialogue” on the Telangana issue with representatives of the three embattled regions of Andhra Pradesh. The salient points that emerge from these negotiations, these sources added, will thereafter be given to the Union Home Ministry for action.
It is against this backdrop that Union Health Minister and Congress general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, Ghulam Nabi Azad, embarked, on Monday, on what is being described as the “second stage” of the negotiations. In the first stage, Mr. Azad and other key leaders — including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P. Chidambaram — had “heard” out the protagonists of the Telangana region, and then those of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema.
In this second stage, Congress sources said, there would be a “dialogue,” with the leadership set to ask each of the three regions to designate their representatives – 10 each from Telangana and coastal Andhra and four from Rayalaseema.
Kicking off the “dialogue” on Monday, Mr. Azad, it is learnt, asked the Telangana representatives to justify on Wednesday — when they meet him again – their claim to Hyderabad and the river waters. This exercise with the Congress’ Telangana protagonists will be followed by similar exercises with those from the other regions.
The Telangana MPs, while stressing that they saw this “dialogue” with all three regions as “the only way forward,” expressed their unhappiness that two other key issues were not being addressed. The first relates to how to handle the resignations of the MLAs/MPs; the second, they say, is that it will not be enough to engage Telangana’s political representatives, as what the region is witnessing is a “mass movement.”
“The Centre still thinks there’s no mass movement in Telangana,” party MP Madhu Goud Yaski said. “By merely engaging political parties, it will not be able to solve the problem.”
According to the Telangana representatives, government employees, doctors, teachers, lawyers and students have all rallied together to form a powerful movement, and it is the political parties which are trying to find a space in that movement. “The political party that supports that movement will get the votes,” Mr. Yaski said. And on August 1 — the day Parliament re-opens — government employees across the region will go on strike.
Simultaneously, by rejecting the MLAs’ resignations, the Assembly Speaker has placed the Congress’ Telangana representatives in a quandary, they say. Sources among the Telangana MPs said, “The leadership has placed us in a tight corner by rejecting the MLAs’ resignations and simultaneously, calling us for a dialogue. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has said it will re-submit its resignations; the Telugu Desam Party is waiting for the Speaker to return to Hyderabad. If our MLAs don’t also re-submit their resignations, the people will turn against the Congress.”
The resignations of the MLAs have been rejected to ensure that the Kiran Reddy government stays afloat, they agree but, if the Congress MLAs sit tight, it will make them look disloyal to the movement. The Congress MPs say there is no need take a decision on the resignations at this stage at all. And with Parliament starting in a week, the nine Congress MPs are hoping that the Lok Sabha Speaker will not act on them for sometime.
If the Congress’ central leadership can’t afford to lose nine MPs, the latter can’t afford to have their resignations rejected without being forced to offer them again – or be ostracised at home. That is, unless the Central government gives them a face-saver and officially announces a time frame, they say, within which they will resolve the issue.
False assurance: Advani
J. Balaji reports:
BJP senior leader L.K. Advani reportedly told a 25-member delegation of party leaders from Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday that the Congress had deceived the people by giving a false assurance on forming a separate Telangana State.
The BJP would support a Bill on Telangana if it was introduced in the ensuing Parliament session. “Otherwise, when the BJP comes to power at the Centre after the next poll, definitely we will form Telangana at the earliest,” Mr. Advani told the delegation here. This was stated by AP BJP president and former Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya.
Mr. Advani also asked the delegation to propagate the Congress’ failure on the Telangana issue in villages so that the people “can see its real face.” Mr. Advani wondered what made the UPA government go back on its promise after Mr. Chidambaram announced on December 9, 2009, that the process for forming the separate State had began, Mr. Dattatreya told The Hindu quoting Mr. Advani.
Uncertainty in A.P.
The delegation also met BJP president Nitin Gadkari and explained the situation in Andhra Pradesh where “uncertainty” prevailed. Work in government offices was affected and even important Ministries like Home were not functioning properly. Mr. Gadkari promised that the party MPs would be asked to take up the issue in the coming Parliament session. The BJP, which carved out Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand States during its regime without any problem, was firm that Telangana should be formed, he told the party leaders.
A detailed report on the Telangana issue, prepared by them, was given to the party leaders here. Hindu