Friday, September 20, 2013

Finally, the CM speaketh!

The following article was written for Niti Central. Reproducing it here for reference. 
After remaining silent for exactly nine days after the Congress Working Committee resolution for the creation of Telangana was passed, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister has decided to talk to the people of the State.
He started his Press conference by first expressing sadness over the demolishing of statues of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. He said that today’s Andhra Pradesh is because of the mercy (he actually used a word in telugu that means mercy!) shown by Nehru. He also said that Indira Gandhi fought for the unity of Telugus in Parliament. Finally, he told us that Rajiv Gandhi has always yearned for a developed Andhra Pradesh.
Next, as has been the custom of every Congressman, he first pinned the blame on YSR, saying it was he who took 40 MLAs to Sonia and started this whole debate. At that time, even TRS had not been formed. Then he reminded us that TDP took a decision in 2008. Finally, Congress took a decision. An earlier article on NitiCentral contains details of how and why various Congress leaders are blaming everyone except Sonia Gandhi, so we won’t get into those details here.
He then informed the Press that the Congress has formed a high-level committee to look into specific demands and therefore has urged all striking employees (and those who have given notice to strike) to stop doing so and make their representations to the committee.
He then invited questions from the media. While answering these questions, he started reeling out statistics listing out the various problems that will arise in the discussions:
1. Water sharing
2. Electricity sharing
3. Employee situation
4. Status of Hyderabad
5. Punjab-Haryana disputes are still pending in the Supreme Court
He gave specific examples on how Telangana will become badly electricity-deficient under the current circumstances (saying the demand-supply gap will be more than 40-50 per cent). Last year, the State had a 15 per cent supply-demand gap and we faced a severe power crisis. The Chief Minister has asked us to imagine what the situation would be if that gap is as high as 40-50 per cent?
He also spoke about specific projects related to water sharing that will need to be resolved amicably. He spoke about many irrigation projects along Godavari, Krishna and other rivers and questioned the central government as to how these problems can be resolved amicably?
He grew particularly sentimental when talking about Hyderabad (“This has been a capital for nearly 55 years. It’s not easy to let go of it. I was born and bought up here.”). He stressed that never in history has such a well-developed capital city region has had to be split, so unless the Central Government gives more clarity, things can’t move forward.
In summary, he has said us that no committee has answers on any of these modalities. He repeatedly said that these are his representations to the Central Government and it is up to them to find solutions before even thinking of asking the Assembly to discuss the matter. He was pretty insistent that the Assembly must discuss all these issues.
Questions were posed to him on the validity of the Antony committee. This is purely a Congress committee, so how can the CM ask striking employees to come and submit representations to this committee? The CM answered by saying that it is true that the party announced this committee, but it still has two senior Government ministers in it nonetheless. From various reactions, it looks like this reaction has cut no ice!
The Chief Minister was trying to impress that a split of the state is not beneficial for any part of the state. In his own words: “A problem should be solved by showing a solution. A problem cannot be solved by creating a bigger problem.”
The Press conference clearly indicates that the Chief Minister is dead against this decision. He has upped the ante and thrown the gauntlet before the Central Government led by his own party. He has listed out problems that have the potential to delay the process indefinitely too. Telangana MLAs have already started spewing fire. This clearly validates Narendra Modi’s questions to Sonia Gandhi — if the CM himself is so disenchanted with the decision, what exact efforts has she made to bring about a consensus within her own ranks?


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