Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh’s Telangana region may not currently be witnessing protests for separate statehood but the ongoing consultations by the Congress leadership in New Delhi has sparked fresh debate on the sensitive issue.
The series of deliberations the leadership has been having with the state party leaders and even with Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan over the last one week has triggered speculation that a solution to the four-decade-old issue may finally be in the offing.
While Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s talks with the state leadership have raised hopes among the Telangana protagonists within the party, other parties have dismissed it as a Congress ploy ahead of the presidential elections.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Telangana leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) all feel the Congress party is using the issue to get votes of MPs and state legislators from the region for United Progressive Alliance (UPA) candidate Pranab Mukherjee.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram Friday said a solution to the Telangana issue would be found as early as possible. However, there is no indication as to what this solution would be.
The TRS, the BJP, Telangana leaders of the TDP and also the political Telangana Joint Action Committee all have rejected the idea of Rayala-Telangana and also the demand for union territory status to Hyderabad.
Some Congress leaders from the Rayalaseema region hinted after their meeting with Sonia Gandhi that the party leadership is mulling formation of Rayala-Telangana, comprising Telangana and Rayalaseema.
Telangana comprises 10 districts, including Hyderabad, while Rayalaseema consists of four districts.
Sarve Satyanarayana, a Congress MP from Telangana, claimed after his meeting with Sonia Gandhi Friday that people of Telangana would soon hear good news. He claimed that the leadership would address the issue after the presidential elections.
However, Telangana groups point out that this is not first time the Congress has promised to address the issue after some election. It had made a similar promise before elections in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala last year when Telangana was witnessing violent protests for a separate state. A similar statement was made before assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and four other states.
Some political observers feel the Congress is not likely to do something on its own on the issue when there is normalcy in the region unlike the last year’s turmoil and the mass strike.
However, Congress leaders from Telangana claim that the leadership had realised that further delay on the issue would wipe out the party from the region. They expect a solution before the 2014 elections.
Congress finished fourth and lost its deposit in this month’s by-election to the Parakala assembly seat from Warangal district. After the by-poll result, party leaders from the region conveyed to the central leadership that if the party failed to take an early decision it would be difficult for them to face the people.
The Congress party had also received huge setbacks in the by-elections to 16 seats from the region since last year.