Perhaps that symbiosis and the benefits of being together which are seen and talked about when one party wants to leave are not harnessed well in good times to strengthen it, is the sad state of affairs that eventually leads to such separation. Therefore the question before the leaders from Seemandhra who are agitating now should be why did they allow this need to separate surface again in this century, when there were enough opportunities to have a mind-meld and a consensus when things were going good. I would like to ask this question especially to Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) who were in power during most of those “quiet” years in the eighties and the nineties.
The very fact that regional parties like TDP mushroomed in the eighties and thereafter became the order of the day that today these fragmented regional parties put together make a sizeable number side-lining national parties to the second and third places even at the Centre was because the national parties somehow failed to address the regional aspirations and development in many a state. So it is quite ironic that a regional party like TDP itself would get marginalised in its own home ground over the last ten years precisely because of the same mistake, in not attending to the local aspirations of the sub-regions as even Naidu was more Hyderabad-centric rather than developing the whole region.
The feelings could be more so when there is an imbalance in the share of revenues versus the share of resources like water, job opportunities and even political power, as the clamour for separation grew louder. It is easier to understand BJP’s siding with the separation right from beginning given the right wing ideology they have and the fact that Telengana contributes more to the State revenues and feels it is less rewarded for doing so, while it was Congress party’s flip-flop on the issue that made it look a lot worse.
In my opinion, as long as Congress had a regional satrap in YSR, who was a strong leader like any of the strong BJP Chief Ministers, the issue was handled a lot better locally, even though TRS as a party would from time to time make some noise. It was after the tragic death of YSR, things went for a toss for Congress party, as they now realise Seemandhra is beyond their reach with Jagan holding the forte there. So the only hope for them is to have some seats in Telengana region, hence they had to go through with this eventually despite the rebellion from within including their own CM. Perhaps, where Congress party lost out was in not able to find a suitable successor to YSR to hold its power and the State together. Having lost that, the only way forward for them seems to be “divide and rule” and hence the haste now in doing so.
As far as Jagan’s party is concerned, I guess either way they stand to gain and it is an opportunity for him to consolidate further in Seemandhra both on account of the “hurt” feelings and also because that is their turf hence becoming stronger, and eventually come back to power. It may perhaps be an opportunity for them to make some inroads into Telengana also if there are sizeable numbers as some do believe within Telengana, who still hope for a unified AP.
For TRS and the pro-Telengana politicians, it would be a real litmus test in the coming elections as to whether their agitation for separation will be well received and assuming it would be, then a test for their governance ability to provide the answers for the very questions they raised to create this agitation. For TDP, their whole stand in this issue is as clear and bright as their future itself which is anybody’s guess.
As far as BJP is concerned, they are on the fence now. Considering they would form the government in the Centre or atleast would stake a claim to, the package for both the sides could be the carrot for wooing whoever gains majority in both regions to take their support. So they have nothing to lose in the whole bargain, but only to gain, while Congress can wait and watch the whole show unfold and ponder over like Dhoni on how come we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, despite tabling the bill and creating a new State.
And for the people on both the sides, it’s all a “state of mind” still, as someone said!