The following article has been written for Niti Central. Posting it here for reference.
“It is not proper for me to say anything till I get a clear picture on why the meeting has been called for.”
This was how the Andhra Pradesh Congress Chief responded when asked about the All-Party Meet called by the Central Government (headed by his own party). If he himself has no clarity, what about ordinary mortals by us? When we first heard about the news of Shinde convening an All-Party Meet – I thought some sense finally dawned on the UPA – they have decided to discuss the issue in detail with the parties first! All such hopes evaporated into thin air within no time, this looked like another gimmick to score political points!
First of all, the parties were all given a whopping five days to come up with their suggestions on 11 ‘Terms of Reference’ of the Group of Ministers (GoM). Who gives five days to respond to such a serious issue? That too in detail? If this is not a farcical request, then what is? That’s not it. After they respond, then the Government will decide on a date to meet all their political representatives! So, an All-Party Meet has not yet been convened – it will be done at a later date – after giving five days to respond to 11 crucial terms of reference on how the State should be split!
And lastly, news reports are agog with analysis saying that this meet is being convened to put the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in a spot! With the Congress vertically split too – one wonders what tone the Congress will take in the All-Party Meet. Giving a mere five days to respond reinforces the argument that this is merely a political gimmick. Honourable Digvijay Singh has now given up on answering the query on when the State Assembly will get to discuss the Bill – it is really hard to believe that this man was at the helm when Madhya Pradesh was split. Atleast from experience he should be knowing what the procedure is!
Meanwhile, the protests on the streets have toned down. One of the primary reasons being the devastation created by the recent floods. The entire coastal Andhra Pradesh was battered with severe rains for seven continuous days. The politicians though continue with their ambiguous statements. One day, we hear they have submitted resignations, another day we hear that they have attended review meetings as Ministers! They continue to be equivocal on how they will help fulfill people’s aspirations from Seemandhra.
The Centre has setup a task force with many serving and retired IPS officers to come up with recommendations on how to divide police assets etc, and report on law and order problems that might arise. This is the only tangible step ever taken by the UPA – a step that is now shadowed by the decision on All-Party Meet. It has been more than three months since Congress Working Committee (CWC) decided. We are not any wiser. Today is Andhra Pradesh Formation Day – will this be the last AP Formation Day that we are celebrating as one State? Only time will tell!