Friday, November 1, 2013

All-party meeting on Telangana Serves no purpose: Dr.JP

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today described the Union Government move to convene an all-party meeting to discuss Andhra Pradesh bifurcation as another act in the cynical drama it has been staging.

When almost all parties in Andhra Pradesh are divided on regional lines, no purpose would be served in holding consultations with them once again. Perhaps the move is meant to corner certain parties to serve the ruling party’s interests, said Dr. JP.

Addressing a meeting after garlanding the portraits of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Potti Sriramulu and unfurling the national flag to mark the Andhra Pradesh Formation Day at the party headquarters, Dr. JP wanted the Union Government to consult legislators and representatives of civil society organizations including joint action committees of Telangana, Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema separately or district-wise if necessary.

Dr. JP pointed out that the demand for carving out a separate Telangana is strong just as the fears and concerns of Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema people over bifurcation are genuine. The Union Government and political parties should hammer out a comprehensive and amicable settlement by addressing the issues being raised by people of the three regions in the State.

Dr. JP recalled that a number of new States have been formed after the country attained Independence either as per recommendations of States Reorganization Commissions or by bringing about consensus among all stakeholders. Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav, who as Bihar Chief Minister thundered that Jharkhand could be formed only over his dead body, himself moved the resolution for the new State’s formation because through patient and persistent consultations the Center could build a consensus.

Dr. JP dismissed the contention of certain sections that a State can never be formed for a minority of people since the majority would always oppose it. He pointed out all the three States formed in 2000 – Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Uttaranchal – represented a minority of people in their parent States. The Union Government to its credit has honored people’s sentiments and did not disturb Union Territories although their consent is not required. For instance, Yanam, a tiny village in East Godavari continues to be a part of Puducherry, although it can be merged with East Godavari in AP with the stroke of a pen. Similarly, it has not chosen to unsettle Goa by merging Konkan areas with Karnataka and Marathi areas with Maharashtra.

Dr. JP said division of a large State and formation of a new State is always beset by problems. In the case of Andhra Pradesh, the problems span division of employees, water resources, electricity and assets and liabilities. The most important problems, however, center round Hyderabad and backward Rayalaseema region. It is for the first time in India’s history that an economic hub and a metropolis like Hyderabad is proposed to be made part of the new Telangana State triggering fears of insecurity among people of Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra regions. Again, economically backward Rayalaseema with its peculiar problems has to go without an anchor city like Hyderabad.

All these problems, Dr. JP repeatedly said, are not intractable. What is required is patience and vision. If the Government of India is sincere, it can hold consultations with legislators and civic society representatives, ascertain their fears and concerns and short-list solutions that emanate. Based on them, it can build a consensus. Again, any division effected should remain political and not lead to emotional, economic and social division of people. After all, all Telugu-speaking people share not merely one language but also one civilization, history, customs and traditions.

Instead, the Union Government is enacting drama after drama and playing with the lives of people in the State solely to serve the ruling party’s interests in the ensuring general elections. If the Union Government ignores traditions and practices, continues to take unilateral and dictatorial decisions and impose them on people, India will lose its federal character and become another erstwhile Soviet Union or Yugoslavia or Pakistan which found themselves dismembered.

Lok Satta leaders D. V. V. S. Varma, N. Saroja Devi and M. Satyanarayana took part in the meeting.

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