The quality of New Delhi’s responses to the Telangana question leaves one with the impression that thinking in the high councils of the UPA is totally unhinged. Union home minister P Chidambaram left observers aghast on Monday when he said the Andhra Pradesh Assembly should pass a fresh resolution on the deletion of Clause 14 (f) of the presidential order, which regulates government recruitment in the state. The clause allows the government to treat Hyderabad as a ‘free zone’ to which recruitment can be made from any part of the state. By virtue of it, the constabulary of Hyderabad, has been filled with recruits from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, leaving disproportionately fewer posts to local people from Telangana. This has been the source of much heartburn in Telangana and feeds the current agitation for a separate state.
Ever since the Supreme Court upheld the ruling that Hyderabad is indeed a free zone, Telangana groups have been demanding the deletion of Clause 14 (f). In the context of an upsurge of Telangana sentiments, the State Assembly had passed a resolution in March 2010, advising the Centre to delete the clause. Chidambaram’s argument that a fresh resolution is necessary in view of changed circumstances is a bit thick. As the Assembly has not been dissolved, its previous resolution stands and the Centre can take whatever action it decides on its basis. While Chidambaram has failed to spell out the ‘changed circumstances’, the change, if any, has been towards a deepening of the cleft between Telangana and the rest of the state.
The demand for a fresh unanimous resolution at a time when elected representatives from Telangana have submitted their resignations is disingenuous. To the unbiased observer, it represents the effete hope of a lame-duck dispensation at the Centre that the contestants would, by their own design and effort, come to a consensus. Disputes such as Telangana are not resolved by consensus, but through leadership, which Delhi does not have. [Express News Service]