Emotive issues can never be settled by dispassionate discussion, whether it be Ayodhya or Mandal or any other issue which arouses strong reactions from both sides. They cannot be resolved by passive action. It has to be active. And the active action is that there should be some people, preferably the Prime Minister himself, who should bring both the parties together, sit down in a room, and whether it takes on day, two days or one week, hammer out a solution and then bring it to Parliament. What the UPA-2 has been doing is very childish. First they take a long time to announce Telangana. They promised it in UPA-1. They promised it in the UPA-2 manifesto. The moment they came to power in 2009 they should have got cracking on this job. They didn’t. Then suddenly they announced it a few month ago after a Congress Working Committee meeting. This itself is very childish. This is a national issue, concerning the emotions of two groups of people in a Telugu speaking State. It is not a subject for a Congress Working Committee. There should be a larger forum where these two groups should be invited but short term electoral gains take priority in this country. And the Congress thought that by announcing this they will steal a march on everybody. It is not correct.
Today whether Telangana and Andhra are bifurcated into two States or the decision is postponed, either way the Congress is the loser. The BJP is the loser. These two parties do not figure in Andhra’s electoral arithmetic. Recently in the Lok Sabha, unprecedented scenes of rowdyism were seen. It is shocking but not surprising. If passions are high and both parties feel equally strongly about their points of view, what else will happen? It is the job of the Speaker to call them in her chamber or the Prime Minister or Sonia Gandhi, but none of this homework was done. That channel of working has come to a stop. Kamal Nath is supposed to have legendary powers of deal making and having good relations with the opposition. What happened? I don’t think he has called a single meeting of both the factions on Telangana. There was a Government committee, there was a Ministers committee with Jaipal Reddy and others. They tried to hammer out the solution but nothing doing. The fact of the matter is that the Andhra problem was created in 1952 when Potti Sreeramulu died demanding Telugu speaking areas of Madras to be included in Andhra and he went on fast and died. Under that pressure the then Government with Jawahar Lal Nehru decided to have a united Andhra. That was a mistake. That day it should have been said that Telugu speaking areas of Madras will be a separate State — Andhra, and Telangana would remain Telangana which is the old Nizam’s State. The mistakes of 1952 are revisiting us today after 62 years. The decision to make Telangana is not wrong but it can’t be done in this way, the method is wrong. Never before has a State been created in this country without a resolution from the assembly of that State. Even Jharkhand was created by a Bihar assembly resolution. Much as Bihar would stand to lose but circumstances were created where the Bihar assembly had to pass the resolution. Here the Andhra assembly — with a Congress Chief Minister, they are not even allowing a resolution to be passed for the creation of Telangana. Common sense demands that this issue should be postponed and Telangana should be created but after the elections. Now anybody who thinks that by creating Telangana you will get votes –that’s silly. The YSR Congress, the TDP, and Chandrasekhar Rao’s Telangana party –they are the gainers, not the Congress and the BJP. In fact this is a classic issue on which the Congress and the BJP should get together to save the national Constitution, to save face. Forget about a few seats in Andhra that can’t make a difference to the national image. The BJP should realise that if Modi is going to become the Prime Minister in their opinion, then Andhra ‘yes’ or ‘no’ will not matter. The Congress should realise that if we want to stop Modi, Andhra will not matter. The Telangana issue has gone beyond control and if you want to stop this kind degradation of Parliament as what happened recently — one MP using a chilli spray and saying this is for defensive action as if he is a woman who is about to be raped — it is ridiculous — such people should not have place in public life. What can we do, we don’t know. Somebody must go to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court must pass a ruling that if MPs who are not frisked, who are supposed to be free of security checks, if they start behaving like this what is the security of the ordinary citizens. This is a matter on which the Congress and the BJP and may be the CPI(M) should seriously have a discussion and find a way ‘how to’ — we may agree or we may disagree on it, a resolution may be passed or not passed — but at least norms of behavior will be there. And it is not fair to put all the blame on the Speaker. What can the poor Speaker do? After all, they are Honourable Members of Parliament. This is a clarion call even now: whether you want the Telangana Bill passed or not passed, sit down together and bring sanity back to Parliament. That is the need of hour.