Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said the need of the hour in Andhra Pradesh today is the dousing of flames of passion and restoring sanity to people fighting for the formation of a separate Telangana State and those opposing it in favor of an integrated State.
Addressing the annual conference of the party’s General Council and the media later, Dr. JP recalled the present unrest was triggered by Union Home Minister Chidamabaram’s December 9 announcement that the Government of India had initiated the process for the formation of a Telangana State. To restore peace in the State, the Government of India should immediately announce that it would not impose any solution of its own on the people of Andhra Pradesh to the festering Telangana problem and any solution would be arrived at only after consultations with and consensus among all the stakeholders.
Dr. JP said that legislators who had tendered their resignations protesting the Delhi announcement or their party’s insincere stand should withdraw them forthwith. Resignations amounted to abdication of their Constitutional responsibility as elected members. “This is not the time to succumb to passion. Leadership lies in staying above the fray, and resolving the crisis collectively.”
Dr. JP said that pending a final settlement to the Telangana issue, interim institutional arrangements should be made to address the aspirations of the Telangana region and the grievances of people in all backward regions in the State in a time-bound manner. Regional imbalances had raised their ugly head because local governments had been deprived of powers and resources.
The Lok Satta Party President recalled that the party is committed to transcending caste and religion, region and language and protecting the interests of all. “There is no place in the party for those who are swept off by momentary and petty considerations”, he said and asked the party’s Disciplinary Committee to deal firmly with those who stray from the party’s fundamental principless.
In response to a question, he said that Lok Satta Party members would not join any Joint Committees of Action formed or being formed in different regions of the State. The parties forming the committees were not committed to following or practicing any principles, and are merely acting as weather-wanes.
He made it clear that the Lok Satta is not opposed to the formation of Telangana if it is accomplished through constitutional means and in accordance with a consensus built among all the regions of the State. Similarly, the party is not opposed to keeping the State intact if the genuine aspirations of people in Telangana are addressed satisfactorily. He underlined the need once again for arriving at a consensus on the status of Hyderabad since the feelings of people in the entire State are intertwined with the capital for the last five decades.
“Above all people of all regions of the State should be disabused of the notion that creation of a separate State is a disaster or that a separate State is a panacea that will solve all problems.”
Dr. JP pointed out that that it is the innocent youth and poor who are falling prey to police baton charges and not the sons or daughters of politicians or bureaucrats. He wanted the youth all over the State to abjure violence and vandalism. Without being swayed by momentary passions, they should express their views peacefully. The recent political developments had caught all traditional parties pants down since their private views differed violently with their public protestations. The traditional parties had exploited the Telangana issue for vote bank politics without addressing their basic problems like empowerment, justice, quality healthcare and education and skill enhancement and livelihood opportunities.
He repeatedly appealed to people to realize that the formation of a Telangana State is going to be neither a cataclysmic event for Andhra Pradesh nor a panacea for Telangana problems. “When you are carried away by primordial loyalties and emotional frenzy, everything appears to be a life and death issue.”
Calling upon people of different regions to shed their hatred against people of other regions, Dr. JP said that in the end people had to live together. “After all, you may change your friends but cannot change geography.”
The party’s General Council decided to form a student wing called Vidyarthi Satta and adopted amendments to the Constitution providing for executive and other types of members and cooption of women, SCs, STs and BCs and youth if they could not be elected in sufficient numbers reserved for them.