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‘Birth of Telangana can open Pandora’s box’


Thursday, December 10, 2009 07:10:37 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The government’s nod to a separate Telangana state while being a good thing democratically in meeting regional aspirations could also open a “Pandora’s box” of political problems, say experts and politicians.

“Pandora’s box has been opened,” said N. Bhaskara Rao, chairman of Centre for Media Studies. “For six years, the Congress government has slept. Now, it took an overnight decision on Telangana. This will lead to a bigger battle,” Rao told IANS.


According to Kamal Mitra Chenoy, a political analyst of Jawaharlal Nehru University, the “fear” of collapse of the Indian state had been raised innumerable times at the formation of every new state.


“When PEPSU (Patiala and East Punjab States Union) was broken up, there was a fear that more would happen. When greater Assam was broken up, there was again that fear. With the creation of Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand, there were similar sentiments,” he said.


He felt the decision to allow formation of Telangana state was a “democratic move”. “Clearly, it was a mass movement,” said Chenoy, noting that the Telangana demand was a historical one which began even before independence.


Even Rao said that “theoretically, smaller states is not a bad thing administratively”, but said the issue will be how to divide the states.

Home Minister P. Chidambaram noted that the Telangana debate was symptomatic of a demand for greater autonomy of economic rights.


“That debate again exposes how people of a region feel that they have been neglected despite speaking the same language by the governments that have ruled that state for many years. The undercurrent in every debate is the violation of someone’s rights or the perceived violations of someone’s rights,” the minister said outside parliament.


Shahid Siddiqui, general secretary of Bahujan Samaj Party, told IANS: “Once the central government has conceded the Telangana demand, it is bound to consider lots of other similar demands. And the first would be to give separate statehood to Harit Pradesh in western Uttar Pradesh.”


He cited the economic backwardness of the Telangana region as the main reason for the demand. “The Uttar Pradesh assembly has passed a resolution over that and the bill is with the central government now. They have to concede to that demand as well,” he said.


The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP has welcomed the Telangana move with open arms. BJP senior leader L.K. Advani said: “We wanted that, according to the aspirations of the people, the state of Telangana is created.”


But there were also nay-sayers, like Samajwadi Party’s Amar Singh. “I don’t agree with the decision of the centre. It is not good for the unity of the country,” said Singh, who pointed to the separation of the hill state of Uttarakhand from Uttar Pradesh. “There are a lot of problems and concerns consequently,” he said.


The movements for creation of separate Gorkhaland, Coorg, Bundelkhand and other similar demands are expected to get a boost with the success of the Telangana movement.


But according to Bhaskara Rao most of these demands are “not immediate problems”.


“The state assemblies have to pass the resolution. Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra or West Bengal will not pass such resolutions, while Andhra is in the position to pass the resolution,” he said.








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