The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.
As has been expected by many people in AP, the Anthony committee is slowly turning out to be a dud! On August 19, the committee met Congress representatives from the Telangana region. They have urged the committee to speed up the process, and have also told that they cannot accept Union Territory status for Hyderabad.
On August 20, the committee met Congress representatives from the Seemandhra region. On expected lines, they demanded that the State not be split. The committee heard them and has recorded their views it seems! The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh was asked to come to New Delhi (again!). He met the committee and reinforced the opinion that a united State is in the only option to salvage matters!
A basic question automatically springs to mind — why were these deliberations not held in the first place? Why these belated half-hearted attempts to show that some deliberations are happening? While this chicanery of the Congress continues, more and more developments are taking place on the protests front.
1. In addition to the massive 4.5 lakh Government employees who have struck work, a whopping2.5 lakh teachers all across the 13 districts of Seemandhra will stop going to work from tomorrow.
2. Counselling for engineering admissions in the State have begun. However, this process was halted in various locations across the region, thereby putting at peril the future of many students! Only after the certificates of students are verified will they be eligible for online counselling. The deadline is August 30 — the process has been smooth in Telangana region though.
3. Nine Union Ministers are mulling whether to boycott the Food Security Bill debate. The Ministers are under massive pressure to either quit or pressurise the high command in such a way that their demands are met! Congress MPs joined the protesting TDP MPs in the Lok Sabha yesterday — of course the “national” media won’t give you this news!
4. The State Government has announced that it will have to invoke the Essential Services Management Act (ESMA) if the strikes continue. The leader of the striking employees has challenged the Government to arrest all 4.5 lakh of them!
5. TDP president Chandrababu Naidu has decided to go an a Bus Yatra in the Seemandhra region starting next week. He wants to call it Atmagourava Yatra. Through this, he wants to communicate directly with the people about the current crisis engulfing us. Initial reports suggest he will take up the chicanery of the Congress, but it remains to be seen what exactly will be the nature of his communication with the people.
6. Honorary President of YSRCP, Vijayamma has sat on an indefinite fast. Today is day three of her fast. In another couple of days, she will be evicted from the venue — as has been the trend with existing MLAs being evicted. However, this fast might have a bigger impact because it is coming from the topmost leader of a crucial political party in the State. Remains to be seen how far this will go.
7. There has been no sign of abatement in the protest rallies across the State. People from pretty much every walk of life have become part of this movement now. New and entertaining ways of protests have come up to! For example, many protestors are playing sports on the roads (kho-kho, volleyball, cricket etc!). As has been done during the Telangana protests, here too many of them are cooking on the roads and serving food to people. Even cultural programs are being organised on the roads!
8. Across the 13 districts of the Seemandhra region, thousands of buses are still off the roads. A few of them ply during the evenings/nights, but the inconvenience being caused to the general public is massive.
9. Employees of the secretariat are now divided into two. Both the Telangana and Seemandhra employees are on a daily strike/protest voicing their demands. Everyday, the police has to control the situation to avoid any escalations. This scenario is playing out at various important Government offices across Hyderabad. For example, employees at the Vidyut Soudha are at continous loggerheads — a very unhealthy trend and the Government is making no effort to buck it.
Meanwhile, the APCC chief continues to blame all political parties except the Congress for this crisis. The incoherent thought process of the congress is best exemplified by his daily rants. It has been 22 days since the region was shut down. Twenty-two days is a very long period for any region to be shut down! And the shut-down shows no sign of abating — neither is the Congress showing any signs of being close to a resolution to the issue.