The mess in Telangana – Andhra Pradesh

Looks like a classic of a master-stroke that is turning out to be a political disaster. A couple of days back, the Congress high command buckled down under the pressure of the hunger fast by the TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti) chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, and announced a midnight decision that the Central Government has accepted the demand for a separate Telangana and will separate it from the rest of Andhra Pradesh. And that decision was enough to engulf the whole state in turmoil.
Before this decision, there was some mayhem in the streets of Hyderabad (Hyderabad is located in the midst of the Telangana region) as there was apparently no action on the fast by the TRS chief, but it was pretty clear as well that there was no substantial need for the Government to rush into this decision. KCR was in hospital, and it was pretty much possible for the Government to announce some committee or other such institution to look into the demand with a time frame of months (stretchable to years), and at the same time ensure that they force fed KCR to prevent his health from going downhill.
However, it looks like there was some political game being played. It is impossible that the Congress could not have visualised the ruckus that would have been created post this decision. After all, Hyderabad is the crown jewel of the region, and to separate it from the rest of Andhra Pradesh would not be so easy-going; further, a number of leaders and rick folks have huge investments in the realty of Hyderabad and they would have huge stakes in ensuring that such a development would never come to light. And this is exactly what has happened – there was a massive upsurge against this protest. There is already rumors that this decision was taken with a long term view; the Congress is desperate to revive itself in Uttar Pradesh, and by laying the seeds of a new round of state separation, they can use this example to push for the breakup of Uttar Pradesh into 3 or more parts which can be targeted more precisely by the Congress.

There are 2 major problems with this decision:
– It has led to a heightened sense of separation in Andhra. Already there is some amount of tension between the people of Telangana and the rest of Andhra, and it is likely to only increase as the tension over the future of Hyderabad increases. Further, there is some speculation on what would be the future of a land-locked Telangana that is not resource rich, and whether depending on only Hyderabad as a source for economic development is sensible ? In the meantime, the Andhra assembly has been suspended, MLA’s and ministers are floating their resignations en-masse (although I predict that these will be taken back once the furore dies down)
– It has given a filip to the movements in other states. For example, in UP, Mayawati has pre-empted a Congress demand by declaring her support for the division of UP into 3 states, the region of Gorkhaland is demanding its own state, Vibhadra would want to separate from Maharashtra, and many others. One wonders how the Center will be able to make out different approaches.

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