Advani amnesia and prod on Telangana

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By G.S. RADHAKRISHNA
  • Published 20.10.11
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Hyderabad, Oct. 19: L.K. Advani today accused the UPA regime of going back on its promise of creating a Telangana state and urged the “indecisive” central coalition to make the region’s “dream a reality” by the New Year.

The barb of indecisiveness came nine-and-a-half years after the BJP veteran, then Union home minister, had developed cold feet on forming a Telangana state.

In an April 2002 letter to then BJP MP A. Narendra, Advani had said “regional disparities in economic development could be tackled through planning and efficient use of available resources”.

The government, therefore, does “not propose creation of a separate state of Telangana”, the April 2 letter said.

Nine years on, as his anti-corruption rath rolled into Andhra Pradesh yesterday near Adilabad, one of the 10 Telangana districts, the 83-year-old called for introducing a bill on Telangana in Parliament’s winter session.

“I hope that in the year 2012, this long-held desire of the Telangana people will be met. By January 1, 2012, the dream of Telangana will be realised, provided Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi take a firm decision and present the necessary bill in the beginning of the winter session of Parliament,” Advani said in Nizamabad, another Telangana district.

Advani said there was no need for an Assembly resolution and Parliament could form a separate state within the winter session itself. “These days I have been hearing that first of all what is needed is a resolution by the state Assembly or something of that effect. Let me emphasise that the Constitution of India does not provide anything of that kind.”

The BJP leader lashed out at the UPA government for its indecision. “It is UPA-II which, in its last two years, has been absolutely indecisive and this region of Andhra is one that has been very badly affected by this condition of the UPA,” he told a media conference.

“The government itself, through its then home minister, announced that they would be forming the state of Telangana. But within 15 days, they went back on the promise with the result that this region is in a condition today which has not been witnessed in any part of the country in the 60 years (since Independence),” Advani said.

The reference was to P. Chidambaram’s December 2009 announcement that the “process” of statehood was being “initiated”. But the midnight announcement triggered a political mutiny in the rest of Andhra, prompting the Centre to later stress on “the need for wide-ranging consultations” on Telangana.

Advani’s comments come at a time the region is in the grip of a 37-day-old strike by government employees. However, schools and colleges have reopened and government buses have partially resumed service.

Former Speaker Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, who is from coastal Andhra, which is against a division of the state, took a dig at Advani, saying his anti-graft yatra was turning out to be an expedition for Telangana.

Advani’s rath will avoid coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema because of the raging agitation against Telangana in these regions. “We will burn your rath if it enters coastal Andhra,” a Samaikya (united) Andhra leader had threatened.