Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Still no clarity after 80 days!

The following article was written for Niti Central. Posting it here for reference.

The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Kiran Kumar Reddy got so irritated with Digvijay Singh that he asked him why he and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde are not on the same page about the process to bifurcate the State! Digvijay Singh pompously declared that the AP Assembly will debate the issue twice. Shinde said the Assembly will only get the bill once. Even striking employees picked up on this point, asking how someone with basic or no knowledge of due process can handle the bifurcation. This confusion at the highest possible level summarises all that is wrong with the way Sonia Gandhi has handled the bifurcation process of Andhra Pradesh.
All the striking employees (nearly seven lakh of them!) have finally called off their strikes. Their major demand being the Union Ministers and MPs resign from their posts. The employees argued that the resignations of the public representatives will create a existential crisis for the UPA thereby, forcing Sonia Gandhi to rescind on her decision to split the State. The Chief Minister has had various rounds of discussions with the leaders of the employee unions, and has assured them in the strongest possible terms that he will ensure that the bill, when it comes to Assembly, will be defeated by an ‘overwhelming majority’. Please note that the Chief Minister himself is scheming to defeat the bill is to be sent by the Central Government which is ruled by his own party!
The biggest disappointment in this entire sordid saga has been the Union Ministers. Not one of them could stand up and show some spine – not one of them could chide Digvijay Singh for misleading the people of Andhra. For example, what purpose did the Antony Committee solve? Not a single Minister could muster the courage to question this insult to the people of the State. They could not muster the courage to question Shinde as to why he lied on the afternoon of October 3, saying there will be no Cabinet note? Every single day, these Ministers/MPs and MLAs rue that they have not been taken into confidence while such important decisions have been taken. And yet, they could not standup to this gross arrogance of Sonia Gandhi and Digvijay Singh.
Instead, they are simply enacting a drama of having ‘resigned’ and yet continue to be in office. They have simply been confined to issue some random statement at a Press conference almost everyday saying that they will fight for the rights of the people of Seemandhra! Nor, is there any unanimity amongst them on what the ‘rights of people of Seemandhra’ are! One says, he will fight for Hyderabad as Union Territory. One says he will fight for Hyderabad as the second capital of the country! One says he will ‘fight for justice’ – with no clue on what it means. One says that the only option acceptable is a united State! Amidst such confusion, what exactly can we expect from this lot?
The protests on the streets have not subsided though. People continue to protest in various forms. Digvijay Singh though has now analysed that the agitation in Seemandhra region has subsided and therefore all is well. There is regular speculation that the Government will be dismissed and President’s rule will be imposed. Shinde has denied having any such thoughts. Given his track record, this denial has further fuelled speculation that might soon be a reality!
Amidst all this, the dreaded power problem is back in AP. Early this year, we explained in detail, the serious power problem the State has been facing since 2011. After a couple of months of continuous power supply, the power cuts are back to haunt the people. This time, no formal announcement was even made – the power cuts just started happening! So the villages are back to having day long power cuts, while cities and towns have power cuts varying from 3 to 8 hours. The mis-governance of Andhra Pradesh is a prime example of how to throw away people’s mandate.
Now, we wait for the next phase to be unveiled. What more lies are in store for the people of AP? Will the GoM atleast bother to visit us once? When will the GoM report come in? What will happen in the Assembly of AP when this bill is taken up? How much more longer do we have to listen to the sermons of Digvijay Singh? These and many other questions dodge the minds of the people of the State. We wait not merely for answers, but answers with crystal clarity.


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