How the Telangana ‘mess’ may be a win-win situation for Congress
Hyderabad – After the Union Cabinet approved the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill on forming India’s 29th state of Telangana, it is expected to go to the President and then to Parliament.
Political analysts have criticised the Congress for poor party management, so much so that it allowed its own chief minister to do an Arvind Kejriwal, sitting on ‘dharna’, right in the capital, cocking a snook at the party leadership.
While that show of defiance and standing up against the Congress leadership, as also repeated obstruction by its own party MPs in Parliament, are seen to have reflected poorly on the image of the party, questions are being raised on whether the Congress leadership will act against Kiran Kumar Reddy at this stage. At least to silence the sarcastic jibes from the BJP, who have told the Congress to first put its own house in order.
Kiran Kumar reddy has been a reluctant rebel. Every time he questions the decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, he never fails to reiterate that he wants to be a loyal Congressman in the same breath. So at an opportune time in the future, the window is always open for the ‘rebel loyalist’ to return home.
Sources close to the Mr Reddy have said the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister may not step down at least till the Telangana Bill is presented in Parliament. He has already publicly declared that he will not oversee bifurcation of the state, sitting in the chief minister’s chair.So if the Bill goes through, as planned by the UPA, his days would be numbered.
If the UPA decides to suspend or remove him, they cannot elevate the deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, who is from Telangana, as that would not go down well with the Seemandhra leaders. So one of the choices could be PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana,who is seen as acceptable to Telangana too.
Either ways, the more the chief minister is seen as a rebel and the more he distances from the Congress, the better it is for the party politically. Mr Reddy may or may not launch his own political party. He may or may not get hordes of Seemandhra Congress leaders joining him. But a new party would give disheartened Seemandhra leaders a new identity and poll symbol with which to go to the people, at a time when the Congress is far from popular in Seemandhra. So while being away from the Congress, Mr Reddy would help the party keep real political opponents, Chandrababu Naidu and Jagan Mohan Reddy, in check in Seemandhra.
In Telangana, Sonia Gandhi will be tom-tomed as the leader who gave Telangana if the Bill goes through or at least someone who tried her very best to do so. So the Congress can most certainly hope to make electoral gains, as many analysts and surveys have suggested.
Incidentally, the Congress leadership acted on their promise to give a separate state of Telangana at a time when they had already lost their popular leader YS Rajasekhara Reddy and his son, Jagan, had emerged as a big challenge to the party and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, which won only 10 assembly and two Lok Sabha seats in 2009.
The promise of Telangana had served the purpose of putting a check on Jagan, who is now virtually restricted to the Seemandhra region. The Telugu Desam, with cadres in both regions, was put in a quandary. Besides, the Congress has become the big brother in the relationship with the TRS in Telangana.
So many may say the Telangana ‘mess’ may prove to be a win-win for the Congress.