Congress pulls off grand gamble with Telangana nod

According to analysts, the party has killed more than two birds by taking a conscious decision on the split.

Indian supporters of united Andhra Pradesh walk past a burning barricade during a protest against the formation of Telangana state, in Ananthapuram district some 400 kms from Hyderabad on October 4, ... more 
Indian supporters of united Andhra Pradesh walk past a burning barricade during a protest against the formation of Telangana state, in Ananthapuram district some 400 kms from Hyderabad on October 4, 2013. India's cabinet October 3 cleared a long-awaited proposal for the creation of a new state to be carved out from the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, reports said. less 
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Fri 4 Oct, 2013 3:30 PM IST

HYDERABAD: THE Centre’s decision to go ahead with the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh to form a separate Telangana state is set to bring about a major change in the political spectrum of the state.

The Congress-led government has taken the decision to divide the state knowing well that the party could face a major debacle in Seemandhra, as the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions are together called, in the upcoming general elections.

The only choice

But it has no other option, as it would have anyway been routed in the elections by the YSR Congress even if the state had remained united. And by granting Telangana statehood, it would at least survive in that region by winning not less than 12 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats.

According to political analysts, the Congress, by taking a conscious decision on Telangana, has killed more than two birds with one shot: first, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which had hitherto been threatening to stage a comeback on the plank of development. TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu, who had written a letter to the Union Home Ministry in support of Telangana hoping that the government would not dare to divide the state, received a rude shock with the latest developments.

His party has lost its ground in the Seemandhra region now, as the Congress has claimed that it took a decision to form Telangana only after getting a nod from the TDP. In the Telangana region, too, Naidu lost his credibility by taking a U-turn again. On Friday, he announced that he would go on an indefinite fast in New Delhi from Saturday against the bifurcation.

Another political bird that has fallen victim to the Congress is YSR Congress president YS Jaganmohan Reddy. He, too, has written a letter to the Centre in the past that he was not opposed to Telangana.

And when the Centre finally took the decision to divide the state, Jagan quickly changed the stand, thereby leaving the field open for the Congress in the region.

Thus, Jagan’s party is now restricted only to Seemandhra.

Though Jagan announced that he would continue his fight to keep the state united — he is going on a fast unto death from Monday in Hyderabad — it would have little impact on the Centre. The Congress knows that if the UPA comes to power for a third time, Jagan would have no choice but to be a part of it.

The third victim of the Congress’s decision is the BJP, which was hoping to gain a foothold in Telangana by espousing the statehood cause. And lastly, the TRS, which would lose its relevance once Telangana is formed.

The biggest disadvantage for the Congress on account of formation of Telangana is that it cannot recover in Seemandhra in the coming years.

Some of the Seemandhra Congress leaders including Vundavalli Arun Kumar, Lagadapati Rajagopal and Rayapati Sambasiva Rao are contemplating quitting the Congress and floating a separate political outfit to retain their identity.

Factions

There is another group of Congress leaders, led by PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana, who wants to remain loyal to the Congress party but continue to fight for the united state. And then, there is a group which is making preparations to join the YSR Congress to safeguard its political future.

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