Sunday, May 18, 2014

Minority rights in Telengana

The Telegu Desam Party wants a re-think on Hyderabad. They have won 9 out of 24 assembly seats in Greater Hyderabad zone and plan to call for Hyderabad to be recognized as an Union Territory (and as a shared capital of two states). We feel that this is an eminently fair demand and should have been considered right from the beginning (except that Congress would not get any political benefits by doing the right thing). This would help create a sense of assurance of minorities against an aggressive, expressive majority.

The Telegu Rashtriya Samity (TRS), the new ruling party of Telengana are in a fix. If they oppose too strongly then the BJP will strangle them by withholding funds from the center (BJP is a partner of the TDP).

This is another reason India should aim for maximum decentralization as soon as possible and proportional representation for voting. Both are secular demands and both will achieve the desired protection of minorities - in this case Telegu speaking people (from Andhra) from the majoritarian impulses of Telegu speaking people (from Telengana).  

We are mostly used to Hindu-Muslim divisions (and talking about it) but the above problem (which seems incomprehensible to an outsider) packs a lethal punch as well.
.....Worried at the growing bonhomie between the TDP and BJP and fearing that the new government at the Centre might try to impose restrictions on the status of Hyderabad, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K Chandrasekhar Rao has reportedly asked TJAC to prepare for another struggle, albeit a different kind this time around.

Sources close to KCR say the TRS president has "credible information" about TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu trying to prevail upon New Delhi to make Hyderabad either a permanent common capital for Seemandhra and Telangana, or give it a Union Territory status, neither of which is acceptable to the pink party.

The TDP coming to power in Seemandhra and BJP getting a thumping majority at the Centre have upset KCR's calculations as he was expecting a YSR Congress Party government in the residuary Andhra Pradesh and a hung Parliament, in which case he had planned to work in tandem with the YSRCP, experts said.

And with TDP keeping its stocks even in Telangana has only queered the pitch further for KCR who has asked his trusted Telangana vanguard, the Telangana Political Joint Action Committee (TJAC) to meet on Monday and prepare for some post-bifurcation drama. "The TDP-BJP combine is a cause of concern as there are many loopholes in the AP State Reorganization Act, which they might try to tinker with. We are ready to fight it out in the eventuality of any restrictions imposed on the status of Hyderabad. And we will back the state government headed by TRS to fight against the Centre," said M Kodandaram, TJAC chairman, a day before the crucial meeting.

Senior TRS leaders said they are wary of the TDP influence in Telangana as apart from winning Seemandhra, Naidu's flock has a strong hold on Hyderabad after winning as many as 9 Assembly segments of the 24 in Greater Hyderabad.

"We definitely are concerned about the fact that the party like TDP is in alliance with the BJP ruling at the Centre. Even people of Telangana are apprehensive that the Centre might behave in partisan manner. But, we hope the Modi government would be magnanimous," said K Kavitha, KCR's daughter and newly-elected MP from Nizamabad.

While she said her party was ready to fight it out in the event of the Centre's decision going against the interest of Telangana, Kavitha called upon the Telangana TDP MPs to ensure their party does not make any such move. "The TDP MLAs have a great responsibility in this context. They must make sure the TDP will not act against the interest of the people of Telangana," Kavitha added.

But constitution experts do point out that loopholes in the AP State Reorganization Act 2014, might just get the Centre to seek fresh amendments and make Hyderabad a Union Territory.

According to K V Dhananjaya, a senior Supreme Court counsel, there is no provision under the Constitution to extend the status of common capital to Hyderabad without making it a Union Territory (UT). "If it is proposed that Hyderabad should act as a common capital to the newly carved out states, it should be designated as a Union Territory. Currently, there are seven UTs in India and a new entry at Number eight will have to be made in the name of Hyderabad," Dhananjaya said.

The Telangana BJP unit too is watching the developments with apprehension and party leaders hoped that Narendra Modi would not be prevailed upon by any anti-Telangana elements. "The TDP might try to do its bit and be a spoilsport in Telangana. But we are sure that Modi will not be get carried away when it comes to protecting the interest of Telangana," said G Kishan Reddy, Telangana BJP president.




  1. Turning every metro into a state is a good idea. They feed the economy. With a small statehood, they are likely to be run in a more efficient way.

  2. There is a negative aspect of this plan; Metros provide a lot of Tax rupees. Once an union territory is formed, all tax rupees will stay inside. Telangana will be essentially Jharkand or Chattisgah and be dependent on overdraft to survive.