Event ReportsPublished on Mar 24, 2011
Participating in an ORF roundtable on 'Telangana: Current Dynamics', Communist Party of India Deputy General Secretary Mr. Sudhakar Reddy said that the Sri Krishna Commission Report on Telangana should be rejected as its observations and recommendations were wrong and impractical.
Telangana: Current Dynamics


As the Telangana agitation in Andhra Pradesh has taken a breather with the agitators putting off the movement for few months following strong positive signals from the Central Government, Observer Research Foundation organised another roundtable discussion on "Telangana: Current Dynamics" on March 24, 2011, at its campus in New Delhi.

Congress leaders Mr. Keshava Rao, Mr. Madhu Goud Yakshi, Mr. Sudhakar Reddy, Deputy General Secretary of the CPI, noted economists Dr. Surjit Bhalla and Dr. Laveesh Bhandari, experienced Central government administrators Dr. Abid Hussain and Arvind Kaul, who was involved in the division of Punjab and Haryana, took part in the indepth discussion which was chaired by Dr. Harsh Sethi, Managing Editor of the Seminar magazine and an Advisor to ORF.

Mr. Sudhakar Reddy, who led the CPI’s study group on the issue which forced the party central leadership to review its position and support the Telangana movement, spoke in detail about the economic, social and emotional discrimination which the people in the region face every day and put forth a strong case for the division of the State.

Rejecting the argument that division of the State is not feasible because of the size and its economics, Mr. Reddy said if some small States have not done well, so is the case with  many big States like the Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra. He also pointed out that Telangana is not going to be the smallest State, as there are some six more States which are smaller than the Telangana region.

Mr. Reddy claimed that more than 80 per cent of the people in the Telangana region are for a separate State which will help eliminate discrimination they face in all fields. He gave the example of Maharashtra and Gujarat to show that after separation both the States did better despite reports to the contrary earlier.

Mr. Reddy pointed out that Telangana was a surplus state when it was merged to form Andhra Pradesh while the other regions (coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema) were very backward. Now these regions have become prosperous while Telangana continues to be backward, he said. Mr. Reddy demanded that the Sri Krishna Commission Report on Telangana should be rejected as its observations and recommendations were wrong and impractical. "Its recommendations are not practical. This report should be rejected as Fazal Ali’s recommendations were rejected in 1955," he said.

Mr. Reddy described the Sri Krishna Commission Report as a big disappointment. "I say it is a big disappointment not because it did not approve Telangana, but the way they tried to deal with the issue. There were lots of confusion and contradictory remarks. There was no cohesion, there was no clarity in the report," he said.

Criticising a part of the report being kept a secret, Mr. Reddy said now the Andhra Pradesh High Court has asked the Centre to make it available to the people, saying the people should know its contents.

Pointing out that one of the reasons given by the Commission against the formation of Telangana is the Maoist/Naxalite problem and the possible inability of a smaller state to deal with this issue, Mr. Reddy said it was a "totally wrong diagnosis of a real problem." "The Sri Krishna Commission has done exactly a wrong diagnosis," he said.

Mr. Reddy said it was better to divide the Andhra state as early as possible. He said "the longer the agitation continues, controversies will become stronger and animosities will grow. It is better to divide at this juncture as brothers," he said.

Mr. Reddy said only the CPI and BJP have taken a stand to support the Telangana movement, while the Congress and the Telugu Desam leadership and rank and file are divided on geographic lines. The CPI-M has taken a position for a united State.

Mr. Keshava Rao, Congress Member of Parliament, said the sentiments among people are so strong that no party, except for the CPI-M, dared to oppose the movement. He also talked about the social, economical, emotional and cultural discrimination and pointed out that almost all the parties are divided over the issue.

Experts at the roundtable felt that it was time for creation of the second States Reorganisation Commission to lay down a broad framework and necessary conditions to address demands for smaller states.

Well-known economists Dr. Surjit Bhalla and Dr. Laveesh Bhandari said that their analysis showed that size does not really matter as there was nothing to suggest that smaller states will not do well. There are examples of even bigger States like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh having not done well.

The speakers also emphasized that if a promise has been given, it should be fulfilled as it is a matter of trust in the Central government. "If you have given a promise, keep it up. People will lose trust in the Centre, otherwise," Dr. Bhandari said.

The participants felt if Hyderabad is the problem, it can be addressed separately like in the case of Chandigarh. There was also a suggestion that Hyderabad can also be made a State like Delhi, though Mr. Keshava Rao said people in Telangana are emotionally attached to Hyderabad and a new capital can be built on BOP model for Andhra.

ORF had organised a roundtable discussions in Delhi and Chennai on the Telangana issue earlier. In Delhi, ORF brought together for the first time at a public forum Congress leaders from opposing camps, Mr. Madhu Goud and Mr. L. Rajagopal, who had a fierce debate on the issue, arguing for and against Telangana.

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