The Congress party’s decision to divide Andhra Pradesh will have far reaching consequences for the Indian polity

The Congress party’s decision to divide Andhra Pradesh will have far reaching consequences for the Indian polity. It is likely to cause severe convulsions throughout the country.

Clamour for creation of many new States is likely to overwhelm the political discourse in the coming months and years.

If the Congress implements its recent Working Committee resolution, it will have ushered in a departure from the principle of linguistic State as the essential and defining architecture of the Indian Republic. If the party has an alternative framework, the process perhaps will be less painful.

But if it had stumbled on this decision only on account of electoral considerations and a flawed understanding of the character and strength of the Telangana agitation, there is cause for anxiety.

Its unexplained move away from the 2001 position of establishing a fresh States’ Reorganisation Commission (SRC) to look into the various demands for Statehood, suggests the party has applied its mind to the question only from an electoral point of view.

The Congress decision in favour of creating Telangana State comes in the wake of several polls forecasting a steep decline in its tally in Andhra Pradesh and many parts of the country. Perhaps its strategists are going for a calculated gamble.

However, the separatist platform is likely to yield only meagre returns in Telangana while the losses are going to be substantial in the coastal and Rayalaseema regions.

Since 2004, the electoral performance of political parties that adopted a separatist platform has been unconvincing, save a few by-elections.

The claims and assertions of the Telangana separatists are unsupported by economic data, history, political developments, and cultural narrative. Every economic and human development indicator shows that the region has registered impressive progress.

In many sectors, its development is equal or and in some even better than the other two regions.

The claim that it is a long standing demand is more in the nature of folklore than a historical fact. The last time any demand for statehood was raised from the region was in 1969.

The fact that the separatists of ’69 were quiet when there was a demand for separation from the other two regions in 1972, is sufficient to show that the demand is less deep than is made out.

Congress electoral gambit might not pay off.

But it will surely ensure the opening up of a huge can of worms across the country and is likely to consume the country’s political and administrative energies.

(The author is founder General Secretary, Visalandhra Mahasabha.)

Also read: Is creation of Telangana a positive step? - YES

(This article was published on August 2, 2013)
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