Kalam - 14
"The 'T' Strategy of 'C' Company"
I am not a political expert nor am I interested in politics either. But the present tangle over the separation of an existing state (province) into two or eventually into more parts, has given me a handle in trying to understand the strategy that is being followed by Congress party, ruling the country presently. My interest in this is purely pedagogic as far as management (strategy) is concerned and not a millimeter beyond.
A follower of 'Karma Siddhantha' (Law of Destiny) I do believe that whatever has to happen will happen and whatever happens is always for a reason. And hence I have no strong opinion on whether states should be divided / bifurcated or not. People will survive wherever they are in whichever way they can.
Andhra Pradesh is a vast state (province) occupying the north-eastern portion of the southern part of the Indian Peninsula. Basically an agricultural state, it has now made quantum forays into construction and software industries in addition to a myriad other industries. The language, spoken by most of the 84.6 million people across its 23 districts, of this state is Telugu and Urdu in addition to English and Hindi and to some extent the bordering languages of Oriya, Marathi, Kannada and Tamil. The state comprises of large and smaller parts such as Telangana (10 districts), Rayalaseema (4 districts), Palnad (formed mostly out of Guntur district), Dakshina Kosta (Southern Coast - 4districts), Ubhaya Godavari (Twin Godavari districts - 2 districts) and Uttara Kosta (North Coast - 3 districts).
Most of the Telangana portion occupied in the central area of the Deccan plateau has been under the erstwhile Nizam's rule. Ever since the area was added to Andhra Pradesh (about 60 years ago) there appears to have been a simmering descent and a desire for a separate state of Telangana existed.
During the initial and mid 1970s there have been at least two separate agitations called "Jai Telangana" and "Jai Andhra" which were even violent resulting in the death of protestors as well as law keepers, but firmly quelled by the government ruled by the Congress Party.
Every time there is a political dissatisfaction, the bogey for a special state is raked and so it appears this time too.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) wants a separate Telangana State and agitations, deliberations, negotiations have taken place.
The Congress Party ruling both in the State and in the Centre, dilly dallied hoping to announce a separate state just about a year before the general elections.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) the principal opposition party seems to have initially shown its ascent for a separate state with conditions.
The YSR Congress Party (YSRC) a splinter group of the Congress and which came into its own eventually also appears to have favoured a separate state initially.
However, as and when the Congress announced its willingness to formulate a bill for bifurcating the state into Telangana and Seemandhra (or would it be ultimately Andhra Seems so as not to lose the second position in the Alphabetical listing of the states of India?) and introduce it to both the houses of the Indian Parliament (Lok Sabha-the lower house and Rajya Sabha-the upper house) all hell broke loose.
This time, people, mostly from the 13 states other than the Telangana area have shown an unprecedented unity in opposing the move and demanded that the state be kept united. The bones of contention principally appear to be the 'State Capital' and 'Sharing of Irrigation Waters'.
On earlier occasions, states have been bifurcated/split into smaller and newer states but after reasonable discussions and deliberations and after taking in the apprehensions of all concerned into consideration. Then the new states were supported to develop new 'state capitals'. But in the case of Andhra Pradesh it is perceived that the expediency of the bifurcation is more political to benefit Congress and TRS parties rather than the true and proper system of bifurcation through confabulations and deliberations.
In the case of Andhra Pradesh, the existing state capital 'Hyderabad' is in the Telangana area and also the major rivers, Krishna and Godavari pass through the region. In addition to many other issues such as educational and job resources these two major issues were to be amicably solved but as of the time this blog is being typed in no such resolve is concluded. Hence, the protest. And the mother of all protests seem to be centered around the huge investments made by all Andhras into Hyderabad which now they appear to be losing with one single stroke of a signature.
When the people are protesting, it took the state congress leaders time to feel the pulse and act. Moreover, many think that the Congress Party though claims to be totally democratic has been controlled by the Nehru/Gandhi family members ever since independence and nobody can really move without the clearance from the Congress Party's President who is a member of the family.
The TDP, a regional party, finding a niche to try and get back to power, quickly assessed the mood of the people and started campaigning for a United Andhra Pradesh.
Meantime, the President of YSRC who has been incarcerated in Jail on many allegations, mostly on disproportionate wealth and related issues (claimed to be foisted on him in the first place and the he is innocent), has been released on bail and the YSRC also started campaigning for a United Andhra Pradesh.
As days graduated into weeks and months, most interestingly the chief minister (CM) of Andhra Pradesh who is a Congress man himself and representing the party as a ruler in the state also started vociferously opposing the creation of a separate Telangana and became a rebel, slowly joined by other Congress ministers and members of parliament (MPs) from Andhra Pradesh.
So, what is interesting is the tolerance of Congress in so far not controlling its CM or other ministers or its MPs from Andhra Pradesh (At last only yesterday it has suspended 6 members) from being rebellious and making statements against the party and its procedures in this regard.
This inactivity of taking appropriate disciplinary action at the appropriate time seems to be giving away the Telangana strategy of
the Congress Party which is quite interesting - of course if it works.
Today the principle parties of Andhra Pradesh are the Congress, the TDP, the TRS and the YSRC. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a well known party across the country and in the state does not have much sway in the state. Same thing with all factors of the Communist Party of India (CPI). Lok Satta Party with its single member makes sensible noise but has been remaining just the same-noise. Aam Aadmi Party that won handsomely in the recent Delhi elections are yet to find a strong footing in the state and with its seemingly quixotic actions one wonders how much value it could be in the next general elections of the country due in mid 2014.
Congress has been ruling the state for almost a decade but then it had a charismatic leader in the Late YS Rajasekhar Reddy who was killed in a flight accident. Now bereft of a substantial and charismatic leader in the state, the Congress needs to garner support from other parties.
As Congress Party has initiated the Telangana Separation bill, it expects the TRS either to align with Congress or at least support congress in due course, out of gratitude.
By releasing the YSRC President on bail and easing the pressure from justice related issues, it either has already worked out an understanding or expects to work out an understanding for support or alignment with congress after the states are bifurcated.
But the strategy seems to be encouraging the rebellion (by not taking appropriate action) of its own CM and others in the party in the state and taking last minute action to enable the rebels form a new party.
Presently it is very clear that in the event of bifurcation of the state, Congress could be drubbed in the rest of the 13 districts of AP and thus may not really realize the true political purpose of bifurcating the state at this point of time.
The rebels under the leadership of a suspended or an expelled CM can go back to people and tell them that because they supported the protests and agitations for a United Andhra Pradesh, they have lost their positions and power and so they seek the votes of the people under the new party.
The master stroke expected is after the rebels win under the banner of the new party, over a period of time, they would either merge with Congress or support it.
In effect, Congress in the state would be a combination of TRS, YSRC and the rebel party with or without a few more fence-jumpers so Congress would not be damaged leaving the TDP, BJP and the CPI parties to their own work, probably relegated to opposition or even minority parties.
A brilliant strategy, one would say.
Well, will it work? Sure, Time will tell us.
But what do you think? You tell me! :-)
Krutagjnatalu (Telugu), Nanri (Tamil), Dhanyavaadagalu (Kannada), Nanni (Malayalam), Dhanyavaad (Hindi), Thanks (English), Dhonyabaad (Bangla), Gracias (Spanish), Grazie (Italian), Danke Schon (Deutsche), Merci (French), Obrigado (Portuguese), Shukraan (Arabic), Shukriya (Urdu), Aw-koon (Khmer), Kawp Jai Lhai Lhai (Laotian), Kob Kun Krab (Thai) and Asante (Kiswahili).
Hemantha Kumar Pamarthy