The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it below, for reference:
“It was only at the last moment that everyone was called to Delhi and informed about the final decision of the high command.”
Prominent Congress MP from Seemandhra, Undavalli Arun Kumar had this to say when asked about why they did not do something to stop this decision.
For those outside the State, a brief introduction about this MP: The very few times that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi visited the State to address public meetings, Arun Kumar was the official translator. His translation was more powerful than the mundane speeches of the mother-son duo. Arun Kumar is also amongst the most prominent voices advocating a united state. He even organised multiple public meetings, reeled out many statistics to put forth counter-arguments; and was one of the most visible faces of the Congress in the State.
If such a prominent voice was not taken into confidence, what exactly has Sonia Gandhi really done to communicate with her leaders? It speaks volumes about the “inclusivity” of Sonia Gandhi that she found it fit not to take into confidence her party’s 17 MPs that the region sent so that she could continue to rule over India.
This is the best time to revisit Narendra Modi’s first question to Sonia Gandhi — what efforts were made to arrive at a consensus within the party? Clearly zilch! Sonia Gandhi’s open contempt and disdain is baffling people here.This is one of the most prominent reasons as to why the people of the State are furious at Sonia Gandhi (and by extension the entire Gandhi clan).
The two types of angry people
1. Those who do not want to divide the State. The nameless agitators who are out in the streets in
thousands (yes, you heard that right — THOUSANDS) do not want to split the State at all. These nameless folks belong to various NGO’s — are students belonging to various colleges, Government employees, various forums advocating a united State. These people are the ones calling for bandhs. They are the agitators who are holding up highways and bringing down statues of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
The intensity of the agitation and the bandhs have been quite severe. The intensity might come down soon, for many people are being put to difficulties (there is a limit to how much people will bear with non-plying buses and trains!). However, the anger might also manifest in other forms of protest — something similar to protests by people of Telangana earlier.
One Congress Minister was apparently confused as to why the statues of these two leaders was being burnt down when they have been strong advocates of a united State! Clearly, these congress leaders have not kept up with the times!
2. Those who demand more clarity on the bifurcation. Those who are resigned to the fact that the split is inevitable are totally lost on the modalities of the split. They are hurt and angry that Sonia Gandhi is leaving open many loose ends and is not making an attempt to clear this confusion. Political leaders want to ensure that no “injustice” is done to the Seemandhra region — but they have no clue how to do it! State Government employees are angry that they are being left in the lurch in this entire process.
The lingering concern about how the concept of a common capital will work is uppermost in the minds of folks in Hyderabad. The Telangana JAC petioned the State BJP unit to demand that the Congress in Parliament give better clarity on this aspect too!
The anger of these people is open to see in TV studios (a powerful medium in AP). How can Sonia Gandhi make such an important decision in such a secretive manner? How can the Congress led by her not give enough clarification on various aspects?
The continuing drama of resignations
Meanwhile, elected representatives of various parties are having to face the wrath of the nameless agitators. Especially the Ministers and MLAs of the Congress. In an attempt to be seen bowing down to the pressure from people, 26 MLAs, 13 Ministers and 10 MLCs have announced that they will resign.
Out of these 26 MLAs, 16 have given their resignations to PCC Chief, thereby making sure the gesture is little more than symbolic. Eight have gone to the Speaker to submit directly, but the Speaker was not available. Two have apparently faxed their resignations (please note that these numbers are appearing differently in the media. All we know for sure is that eight of them went to the Speaker.
Seven to eight Ministers out of 13 went to meet the Chief Minister. An hour later, the remaining folks joined the meeting. The meeting lasted for a whopping four and a half hours — after which only 4 Ministers have confirmed their resignations! As usual, various leaks to various media outlets happened. The Ministers who have decided to stay put are doing so because they want to “fight effectively” for the rights of Seemandhra people! Apparently, the Chief Minister and the PCC chief advocated this stance — this is inevitable, so let’s stay and ensure that no ‘injustice’ is done! The confidence that the higher echelons of AP Congress have in the Delhi high command is awe-inspiring!
It is now being said that there will be a bigger meeting of the Seemandhra CLP on Saturday and a better course of action will be decided!
It was also being mentioned that 15 TDP MLAs will be resigning. The TDP politburo is meeting today. More clarity is expected on these resignations after the meeting is over. Out of the 175 MLAs, about 80 have either resigned or have shown inclination to resign.
The latest word is that some MPs and Central Ministers will also resign, but we have to wait till the end of the day to get more clarity on this.
The depressing lack of communication from leaders
The most worrisome aspect in the last 65 hours is the woeful communication of the Andhra Pradesh Government. It is a given that Sonia Gandhi has taken the people for granted and has decided not to communicate.
The baffling aspect is that the Chief Minister of AP is yet to communicate with the people of the state – he has not come on TV and explained to the people why the state he is incharge of is going to be split; how he plans to help us tide over this crisis; why it is important to realise this is inevitable.
All we keep hearing is that Digvijay Singh releasing some random statements. Frankly, no one here cares about what Digvijay Singh says or thinks – he is a non-entity for the people of AP. The people need to hear their Chief Minister or their Prime Minister to reassure them. Nothing of that sort has happened yet. If this doesn’t happen within the next 24 hours, people will have one more reason to get angry!
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde spoke yesterday to the Press and no one ended up wiser than before. He tells us that it typically takes eight to nine months to carve out a new State but they hope to speed this up to 6 months. Amidst this acrimony, it is really baffling to believe how they will complete this process? Does the Sonia Gandhi-led Congress know something that we mere mortals don’t? Or are they as clueless as ever? Only time will tell!
PS: The Situation is so bad in Andhra Pradesh that the CM and most Ministers skipped Iftar hosted by the Governor of AP. I will say it again. Congress people skipped IFTAR!