Battle Of Telangana
Kingshuk Nag being a journalist has very sharp eyes for details that is evident inside his timely and well-written political commentary—Battleground Telangana on Telangana statehood. This work is straightforward in narration, so it is interesting in reading primarily, statehood has two arms—agitation and its political manipulation by the parties involved. Flaws in statehood could be traced back since the recommendation of First State Reorganisation (SRC), led by Fazal Ali in 1953, on this basis modern Andhra Pradesh came into existence. As this book rightly establishes that unmindful alteration in geography and uneven spread of resources falsified the meaning of state in the eyes of people from Telangana region.
Two major factors [feeble enterprising quality and low literacy rate] are still being caused for the rise of demand for Telangana statehood. Anyhow, time of 1956-1968 remained passive regarding the statehood but the year 1969 proved a painful year, witnessing large-scale violence and misadventures of political class. Andhra Pradesh has always been a key strength of the Congress. Even after the Emergency, the Congress did fairly well in south of Vindhya, especially in Andhra Pradesh, by winning 41 Lok Sabha seats out of 42. In later years too, the Congress has managed somehow a respectable electoral edge in AP, which is the major reason why it has reluctantly been centered over its policy on separate Telangana.
The Congress naturally has chosen an ambitious stand of breaking the natural leadership from Telangana. Chenna Reddy’s opportunism and pacifying turn of PV Narasimha Rao are two classic examples how the Congress prioritised its electoral benefits instead of anticipating on genuine demand of Telangana as a separate state. Chapter-4 (Paradigm Shift: NTR, Naidu and YSR) inquisites the rise of NTR out of the firm-minded convictions of the Congress at Center which in late 1970’s and early 1980’s used to be accustomed for cornering the local demand and changing of Chief Ministers as legislative measures. Here NTR after being rejected for a Rajya Sabha seat from the Congress, sailed on Telegu pride and his own mythological image earned through an impressive inning in cinema. That ended the monopoly of the Congress for a long time; his son-in-law, Chandra Babu Naidu outgrew him later but at the cost of mass support.
The Congress finally cashed in on such dwindling people’s confidence for Naidu under the YS Rajasekhara Reddy. These three big leaders had almost cut-size the Telangana movement. The present wave of demand is being led by K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana Rashtra Samiti), which became resonant only after the unfortunate death of YSR and dramatic change of guards in state Congress.
It could be a matter of big debate, why the Congress has marginalised a long demand for Telangana over the years! This book meticulously reveals the persisting biases towards the development in Telangana region that turned it into a bastion of ultra-left armed movement. If development is directly related to the law and order situation and cure lies in bifurcation of state, then Telangana must be given its due. After all, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh as states have made lot of differences in local development. There is urgency now to end the battleground Telangana by the Centre, as its Home Minister in 2009 announced for the statehood of Telangana while en-route Delhi in his flight! Time is to act now in real world!
By Atul Kumar Thakur