January 20, 2014

Finally someone (JP of Lok Satta) is talking sensibly on Telangana: Andhra Pradesh must listen

If you haven't already seen Jayaprakash Narayan's speech on Telangana in the assembly, I suggest you please do so now (link). I must say that I'm quite impressed. And not just because I agree with him on many counts or because for the first time, a politician is talking about this issue in a sincere and steadfast manner. I'm actually pleasantly surprised that such a civilized discussion could take place in our assembly which consists of MLAs hooligans who don't care for any code of conduct or taxpayers' money (link) and MLAs hooligans who speak only the language of muscle (linklink). I pity those citizens of Andhra Pradesh who hope for progress from hooligans of this kind - MLAs hooligans declaring that anyone who speaks against Telangana's their wishes deserves (?!!) to be attacked manhandled (link). If one MLA is openly instigating a violent attack on another in assembly premises, there is no point in wondering about the law and order (or lack of it) in the state. I wonder if the people of Andhra Pradesh brought these misfortunes upon themselves (link) either by voting for these hooligans or by not voting for other good candidates. That's another post. For now, let's come back to JP's speech on bifurcation.

For the benefit of the readers, I'll try to surmise his speech here (I still suggest that you watch the whole speech to get a complete picture):

  • Historical backdrop and why Telangana is necessary: How the AP government has failed in keeping up two of the seven promises from the 1956 pact. This failure made Telangana people feel cheated. This resentment has been fueled by the way in which the Telangana issue has been handled in the recent past. Why Telangana now: The progress in the state has become stagnant with strong feelings of divisiveness entrenched among people of all regions against each other at every level - including the administrative personnel and politicians. In such a scenario, it would be better to divide the state politically and achieve progress in all the regions rather than making the state rot by forcefully keeping it united. People must understand that this is merely a political division and not a cultural one.
  • JP has stated that the manner in which this issue was dealt with by the Congress government and other political parties would be a model example for how a bifurcation should not be done. Agree with this 100% - I blogged about this (link) . He explains why: All parties tried to fuel hatred among the people of one region against the other. Restlessness which should be avoided at all costs at the time of handling such a sensitive situation was purposely created among people, causing chaos and mistrust. Central government did not consult or consider the people of the state (or their elected representatives) before making its decisions. This created further mistrust.
  • Ideas proposed by JP with regards to bifurcation, which have the potential to achieve peace and progress in all the regions: (i) The issue of bifurcation is to be discussed in a sensible manner in the assembly, bearing in mind the welfare of all the regions. Politicians need to convince people through reasoning about why it is necessary rather than propagating hatred. Central government should not overrule the sentiments and thoughts of the people of the state by taking a authoritative/dictotarial approach towards decisions without consulting the state. (ii) Telangana should be formed with Hyderabad as its capital. There should be no discrimination against the citizens of Hyderabad based on their origin/birthplace. Hyderabad would continue to grow (and so would the rest of Telangana from Hyderabad's income) through investments from all over the state and the country, as has been happening in the past. (ii) Rayalaseema being the most backward region among all over several key metrics should be given a special status like Assam/Himachal Pradesh from which central taxes should be waived. This would bring in 10K crores which would help in dealing away with the 7.5K crore deficit which the region might face. (iii) Polavaram project in coastal Andhra should be completed. This project benefits all the three regions. Ramayapatnam port should be completed, so that upper parts of coastal Andhra are also benefited. (iv) Progress made in the new states must be more spread-out geographically, unlike what we've done in the past by singling out Hyderabad.
  • His last key point was about corrupt and divisive politics, explaining that parties resort to divisive politics to escape from answering for corruption. And he rightly says that no amount of bifurcations and new states will bring progress as long as political parties cling to corruption.
That was all I guess. I would credit him for many aspects. One, even talking about this issue in a sensible and clear manner has become a rarity among our politicians. Two, he has taken a firm and clear stance on whether or not the new state should be formed, unlike other parties which keep dwindling on this (I must allow this credit to be shared with BJP which has also taken a firm stance in favor of separation from the start, albeit due to different reasons). Three, he has supported each and every point related to his party's stance through facts and reasoning. So yeah, I'm hooked. As voters, I think we should give him and his party (link, link) a chance - He's definitely more capable than all those hooligans who've failed us till now. For once, let's try and think beyond caste and religion, let's try and look at real issues which matter for progress. What do you say?

Related post:
How badly the Telangana issue was being mishandled by politicians: Link

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