Telangana’s chequered history
Few may be knowing that the demand for the new state originated first among employees of Telangana because of the preponderance of Andhra employees. The fight for justice in employment finally took the shape in the demand for a separate state. They were in vanguard of the 1969 Telangana movement and now during the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) era. So, employees were emotionally more attached to the Telangana cause than AIS (all India service) officers.
None of the state employees were ready to work in the Andhra government; nor willing to allow anyone from Andhra to work in their government. The argument was if all Andhra employees go to their government, the consequent vacancies can be filled with Telangana youth. Job of locals was a key slogan in the T-movement. Now, as the permanent allocation of employees based on native place was yet to be completed, a provisional allocation was made for three months. This was a mix of Andhra and Telangana employees, much to the chagrin of the TRS and Telangana Employees Association. They threatened to stop those from other regions from working in the Telangana secretariat.
Now that Telangana – India’s 29th state – has come into being after a long and bitter struggle, marked by much avoidable pain and suffering, let us see what awaits the people of the two newly created states. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have the opportunity to work out their future as neighbours, held together by a sense of shared political and cultural history. True, in a sharp contrast to the celebratory mood in Telangana, the people of the other side of the new dividing line remain wary of the immediate and lasting consequences of bifurcation.
However, the occasion of the birth of Telangana must serve as an opportunity to tackle the outstanding issues between the two states within the framework provided by Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014. Hyderabad will remain joint capital for ten years, a period long enough to allow reinvestment and resettlement. Allocation of employees, management of water resources and sharing of power are contentious subjects, but these can be settled through the available mechanism.
As K. Chandrashekhar Rao took charge as the chief minister of the new state, and N. Chandrababu Naidu as chief minister of Seemandhra, the challenge might seem overwhelming. But if they keep the long-term interests of their people in mind, and not their short-term political calculations, many of the seemingly insurmountable difficulties could disappear. The two sides might have taken hard line positions during their campaign and immediately after the election, but once in power, they will hopefully find some meeting grounds.
Andhra Pradesh was one state where the Lok Sabha election was dominated by a local issue; bifurcation of the state. Political parties that until the previous general election could boast of support across the region found themselves relegated to one or the other of the two regions – Telangana and Seemandhra. Parties were defined by their stand on the bifurcation issue, and invariably this issue would have an impact on how the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Telugu Desam Party will formulate their policies on subjects that have relevance to any Telangana—Andhra Pradesh dispute.
But not more than one election can be won on the basis of the bifurcation issue, and both parties must realize the importance of addressing the larger livelihood and security concerns of the people. Both Rao and Naidu will service their states well, if they adopt, as suggested by Governor ESL Narasimhan, a collective process in dispute resolution. The time for political rhetoric is now past.
The history of Telangana movement is long and tortuous. As far back as 1953 States Reorganization Commission advised against immediate merger of Telangana and Seemandhra. In 1955 Andhra Assembly passed a resolution to provide safeguard to Telangana. In 1956 Telangana merged with the Andhra state to form Andhra Pradesh. In 1968-69 massive revolt, called Jai Telangana Movement, was launched by people in Telangana demanding a separate state. In January 1969 as a conciliatory measure, All-Party accord was signed. Indira Gandhi announced packages for the region, styled eight-point formula and five-point formula.
Court upheld rule of job and educational quotas in Telangana. Anti-Telangana quota stir – known as Jai Andhra Movement – was launched. Venkaiah Naidu and Chandrababu Naidu, among others, were in the forefront of Jai Andhra stir; Centre yielded and nullified, by an act of Parliament, almost all safeguards. Between 1969 and 2000, various movements, often violent and pro and anti-Telangana, were launched.
In the year 2001, K C Rao picked up statehood demand, walked out of Telugu Desam; launched Telangana Rashtra Samithi. Sonia Gandhi wrote to NDA, seeking to create Telangana state. In 2004, Congress-TRS forged a poll alliance but in 2006, K C Rao ditched the Congress on the ground that the demand for Telangana was not met. In December 2009, the then Home Minister P. Chidambaram said that the centre was serious about Telangana and appointed Sri Krishna Committee which submitted its report in 2010.
In July, the Congress announced formation of Telangana as India’s 29th state. In February, 2014, Telangana bill was passed by voice-vote in Parliament. IPA