Telangana: UPA in a mess, is President’s rule on cards?

Published: Saturday, Oct 08,2011, 14:28 IST
Telangana, UPA, Prolonged, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, Singareni Coal

After a prolonged stalemate, there’s some movement on the Telangana front. It’s too early to conclude that it would lead to the end of the impasse over the course of action on the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh but the sense urgency on both sides — the UPA and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) — is visible.

However, the priorities for both are different. The UPA is focussed on ending the 26-day-old strike by pro-Telangana protesters which has virtually paralysed life in the region. Government employees, transport staff and coal workers have struck work, triggering a crisis of unusual dimensions. Electricity production has been hit after close to 50,000 workers at the Singareni Coal unit stayed off work; everything else has virtually come to a standstill. Unless the government finds a way out immediately the damage could hurtle beyond control. It ma to go

The TRS is trying to address the political worries of the Congress and the UPA’s trouble over the status of Hyderabad after the division of Andhra Pradesh, the core issue in the Telangana debate.

According to a report in the Indian Express, which quoted Harish Rao, nephew of TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, the party was ready to discuss merger with the Congress if it agreed to create the Telangana state. He also said the TRS did not have a problem accepting Hyderabad as a joint capital till a new capital was developed for Andhra Pradesh.

However, the Congress is not likely to bite the bait, not immediately at least. Its first concern is to protect its political future in the state, one of its last strongholds in the country and find the best way out. Any hurried decision would certainly land it in big trouble in the general elections of 2014.

Meanwhile, the party is busy holding hectic consultations to quell the Telangana fire. On Friday evening, the party’s core committee members, including Pranab Mukherjee, P Chidambaram, AK Antony, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel, AICC chief Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary, met in New Delhi to discuss the issue. However, the meeting failed to reach any conclusion. Last week, Azad had held discussions with Congress leaders from Telangana, Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra and submitted his report to Sonia Gandhi.

The challenge for the Congress at the moment is two-fold: first, end the ongoing strike and second, come up with some position which would be satisfactory to the members of the Telangana Joint Action Committee, which is spreaheading the movement. The second one is intended to buy more time. The UPA and the Congress need it desperately — the creation of Telangana is almost unstoppable now; both have to ensure it works to their advantage.

The party is expected to discuss the issue with renewed urgency today as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Reddy and state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana have been summoned to New Delhi. Governor ESL Narasimhan is likely to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh too to discuss the issue.

According to a report in the CNN-IBN, there is speculation of imposition of President’s Rule in the state. Such a decision might be necessitated in view of the current state of impasse in the state due to the strike by pro-Telangana agitators. But it is not likely solve the problem. It could aggravate it instead.

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