There is however, no question mark in the minds of the Telangana supporter in Andhra Pradesh. The fact that Governor E S L Narasimhan’s term has been renewed, according to those in favour of bifurcation of the state, is a clear indication that the Centre is in no mood to grant Telangana. For long, Narasimhan and his reports to the Centre have been seen as a stumbling block for statehood to the region and the latest decision is evidence that Delhi will go by the advice that comes out of the Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad.
Not that the Congress had not made its intentions clear. Despite pressure from its MPs and state ministers, it did not bring in a resolution on Telangana in the budget session of Parliament. It showed its displeasure with Kesava Rao’s public utterances on Telangana by denying him a Rajya Sabha seat. It wielded the stick when it suspended its own MPs – eight of them from Telangana, last week. It was an unprecendented move for never before have ruling party MPs been suspended in India’s Parliamentary history.
The immediate worry for the Congress now is not Telangana but to somehow save face by winning a few seats out of the 18 assembly and one Lok Sabha constituencies that go to polls in June. All of them barring one, are in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, where the Congress will be pitted against Telugu Desam and YSR Congress. So Telangana can wait for the moment, is the mood.
The Congress party’s hopeful calculation is that not too many MLAs will leave it for Jagan, with two more years left in power. In the worst case scenario, if an exodus does take place, leading to the fall of the Kiran Kumar Reddy government, Narasimhan will be the best person to rule Andhra Pradesh under President’s rule. He has been an Andhra Pradesh cadre IPS officer and knows the state better than the back of his hand. He has headed the Intelligence Bureau, which endows him with the ability to keep his ear to the ground and know what is happening around in the state. And finally, he has been around in Andhra Pradesh since December 2009 and has seen the worst phase of the Telangana agitation. Sending a new man or woman into Raj Bhavan would mean making him get to know things from scratch.
By retaining Narasimhan, the Congress leadership has also sent a message to Kiran whose relationship with the first citizen of the state, has at best been frosty. Most recently, the governor did not approve of the list of Information commissioners sent by the government, a move seen as a snub to the chief minister.
Even while maintaining status quo in the Governor’s office, the Congress is encouraging its leaders to make contradictory noises on statehood to Telangana. The latest being the proposal to carve Andhra Pradesh into two, Rayala Telangana and the rest of Andhra. The idea is to add two backward districts of Rayalaseema to Telangana, and the MIM has also been nodding in favour. But the Congress is likely to refer this to a second SRC, which would be interpreted as a delaying tactic.
Governor Narasimhan who will be sworn in for a fresh term on May 3, has described his new term as his second innings. Those who are opposed to him know enough cricket to understand that if he bats as well as he did in his first innings, he could play them out of the match.
(Pic courtesy : womenipsofficer-2010.blogspot.com)