The two Telugu States, which have been moving hand in hand with the Union government, now seem to have declared a sort of war against the NDA government.
Apart from demanding that the Centre implement the assurances given in the AP State Re-Organisation Act 2014, a new twist is gradually taking shape if the recent developments are pointers. To what extent the State governments believe the Centre with regard to honouring its promises is likely to become the hot topic for debates among the political parties during the Budget Session of the Parliament.
In a strategic move to put pressure on the Centre, the TDP seems to have taken a leaf out of the Telangana agitation. The party president and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has decided to write letters to all the floor leaders in Parliament detailing about what the Centre had promised and what it had given on the ground.
Quite apparently, Naidu will try to orchestrate support while projecting himself as the victim and one who has been taken for a ride. The letter will seek support of every party to the protests it would launch on Saturday.
The TDP feels that they would get support from allies of the NDA who are not very happy with the BJP government. The Akali Dal and a few others are said to have assured Naidu of their support. While the rift between the TDP and BJP has taken a serious turn in the past couple of months, the TRS in Telangana is also warming up for raising its voice against the NDA government.
The first salvo has been fired by Chief Minister and TRS party chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, who on Monday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Budget allocations to farmers. Addressing farmers in Karimnagar, KCR expressed his disappointment with the NDA government for ‘ignoring’ the agriculture sector.
Criticising Modi for not allocating funds to farmers of Telangana, he said that even after meeting him and other ministers more than 20 times and holding talks to link MGNREGA with agriculture, there has been no response. KCR said that he was thoroughly disappointed with the working style of Modi adding that there was no difference in the ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the UPA government and the incumbent NDA-led Union Government as both were adopting an anti-farmer approach.
In fact, the dissent against Modi has been brewing ever since the time he had asserted during Gujarat electioneering that the 50 per cent cap on reservation quota decided by the Supreme Court could not be overruled by political parties. This has irked the governments in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as both had passed Bills increasing the reservation quota for various communities above the court-stipulated 50 percent.
The Telangana State government has proposed and passed Bills in the State Assembly increasing reservation for the Muslim community from four cent to 12 percent, and for Scheduled Tribes from six to 10 per cent, thus taking the overall quota to 62 percent, which is 12 percent higher than the present 50.
The Andhra Pradesh government recently passed a Bill in the Assembly providing five per cent reservations to Kapu, Telaga, Balija and Vontari castes, increasing the overall quota to 55 per cent from the existing 50 percent. Both the governments had sent the bills to the Union government for inclusion in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution quoting the example of Tamil Nadu where the reservations are more than 50 percent.
In fact, the Telangana Chief Minister even claimed that he had spoken with the Prime Minister on the matter and had been assured that the issue would be considered positively. Both KCR and Naidu are unhappy that the Centre had failed to take up delimitation of Assembly constituencies though it has been promised in the AP State Re-Organisation Act 2014.
While the BJPs contention is that they have 10 years’ time to fulfil the assurances, the Telugu governments are of the opinion that there are certain issues like Special Status and de-limitation, which need to be implemented on a priority basis.
They are disappointed that the Centre had not taken any measures in that direction. Hence both the Chief Ministers have instructed their MPs to raise the issues in Parliament, which is scheduled to resume on Monday.
Political circles opine that there is a clear indication that the yellow and pink party are cosying up in Telangana. It is being said that Naidu had commissioned a survey some time back. He has come to the conclusion that the Centre would not get the kind of majority it secured in the 2014 general elections and it would become inevitable for it to depend on allies and friendly parties to provide a stable government.
And that would be the best time to claim their pound of flesh. The talk in the political circles is that both the Chief Ministers shared the details of survey report and have come to the conclusion that they should raise their voice against the Centre.
Thanks to the strategies of KCR, the BJP could not grow to the levels it had anticipated and is in no position to emerge as the main opposition. The Congress comparatively is in a better position and the TDP is practically nowhere despite the fact that it still has cadre support in the State.
Keeping in mind the brass-tacks, Naidu seems to have come to the conclusion that the TDP if need be should have some pre-electoral alliance with the pink party. This perhaps could be used as a springboard to rebuild the party in Telangana.
His comments that BJP had left the TDP even without consulting them and that the TDP was born to oppose Congress party and hence this leaves them with only another party to consider alliances indicates that Naidu, the one-time mentor of Chandrasekhar Rao, is not averse to have a truck with the party.
In fact, a change of heart in the TRS camp, which has been spitting fire against TDP all these years, is clearly visible. IT minister KT Rama Rao stated that the credit to bring Microsoft to Hyderabad and developing IT sector here should go to Chandrababu Naidu. The TRS chief too has been going hammer and tongs against Congress and BJP but not the TDP. The TRS has also supported the TDP agitation in Lok Sabha recently.
Analysts aver that all these point towards the fast-changing political equations in the two Telugu states. TRS also knows that there are at least 25 Assembly constituencies, where a majority of voters had migrated to Telangana and settled here some decades back.
Their votes would be crucial in the next elections. That the TDP could poll about 11 per cent votes in 2014 even when the T sentiment was at its peak indicates the importance of the voters in these 25 constituencies. Hence, a TDP-TRS alliance in Telangana State cannot be ruled out. #KhabarLive