Rayala Telangana: To Hammer Out a Deal or to Hoodwink?

In what could finally be an air balloon, the Congress high command seems to be pursuing the Rayala Telangana proposal ‘with some seriousness’ now. However, it could encounter various hurdles in the process.

The proposal is also being seen as a psychological game being played by the AICC leadership. The latest strategy of the Centre/Congress high command behind the Rayala Telangana move is being interpreted in two ways.

One, it is to ensure a relatively smooth discussion in the state Assembly on the T-bill and then drop the proposal when the bill goes to Parliament citing some difficulties. Two, it is a ploy to force the Telangana protagonists into accepting conditions on the status of Hyderabad post-bifurcation in exchange for dropping Rayala Telangana proposal.

The AICC leadership is also reportedly in the process of convincing the BJP, which is opposing the Rayala T idea.

In fact, a day after deputy chief minister C Damodara Rajanarasimha told the media that his party leadership is again examining the Rayala Telangana proposal, the national capital on Saturday witnessed hectic political activity.

In the morning, Rajanarasimha called on Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, who is also a member of the Group of Ministers. Later, he said he would abide by party leadership’s decision though he is opposing the Rayala Telangana proposal. Later, in the evening, another member of the GoM, Ghulam Nabi Azad called on his party boss Sonia Gandhi at 10 Janpath. Azad, the ‘original’ proponent of Rayala Telangana, is understood to have taken the fresh advice of his boss on the move.

At the same time, Union Minister Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy, who hails from Kurnool and who is throwing his weight behind merging Kurnool and Anantapur districts with the T-state, has begun holding secret talks with politicos from these two districts to persuade them to accept it.

According to sources, Kotla has also sought an appointment with Sonia Gandhi for Monday to once again plead with her to go for Rayala Telangana.

Back in Hyderabad, the AICC leadership’s feelers on this proposal were denounced by T-leaders, including ministers. D Sridhar Babu, Ponnala Lakshmaiah and others disapproved of it and said they wanted only the T-state with 10 districts.

Interestingly, their Seemandhra counterparts, during private talks, are not expressing much opposition to this proposal.

They say merging two districts of Rayalaseema with the T-state would dilute the T-sentiment in the new state, which will provide a sense of ‘safety and security’ to the Seemandhra people in Hyderabad.

They also feel that Rayala-Telangana would be politically advantageous to the Congress.

“If Kurnool and Anantapur districts are merged with the T-state, it would checkmate the TRS as the party has no base in those two districts. At the same time, this proposal would contain the clout of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in Seemandhra as the Reddy-dominated Raylaseema would be split between two states. The proposal will also cut the TDP down to size. Moreover, it will keep the MIM, Congress party’s trusted ally, in a good humour,” a Seemandhra minister told Express.

However, a top Congress leader, who is privy to the happenings in Delhi on the T-front, said though for now his party high command is dropping hints that it is considering Rayala Telangana proposal, it would drop it when the T-bill is introduced in Parliament.

“BJP is not ready to accept this proposal, which will destroy the existence of Rayalaseema which has a distinct culture. Hence, ultimately, our party leadership will stick to the T-state with 10 districts as stated in the CWC resolution,” he felt.

Courtesy: The New Indian Express

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