Massive groups of Congress leaders, both from Telangana and Seemandhra, have been swarming Delhi, to gnaw steadily on the weary ears of Azad and his fellow pointsman on Andhra affairs, Vayalar Ravi. The question, however, is: will Madam bite the bullet? “It’s all a numbers game now,” a Telangana MP told Outlook. “The Congress is definitely looking at how its chances will improve in 2014 if it concedes on Telangana.” A survey by this MP in the region apparently shows that if the state is not divided, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) stands to win 70 assembly seats, the YSR Congress about 25 seats, while the Congress would get only 3-4 seats. More alarmingly, when those surveyed were asked to rate chief ministerial candidates, TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao had a rating of 31 per cent, and TDP president Chandrababu Naidu 30 per cent. In other words, Naidu’s stock has risen in Telangana ever since he said his party had no objection to Telangana.
All other parties—TRS, TDP, YSR Congress, CPI, CPI(M) and BJP—are playing a waiting game. TRS’s Rao, after mouthing a few words about a referendum in Hyderabad, retreated to his farmhouse in Medak, unavailable even to party leaders. Political experts feel that were Telangana granted statehood now, the TRS may be the biggest loser. It may have to merge with the Congress and lose its own identity. As a TRS politburo member puts it, “At this juncture, if the demand is granted, it’s good; if it doesn’t, it’s even better.”
Not conceding Telangana would spell doom for the Congress, predicts Congress MP from Peddapalli, G. Vivek. “If Telangana comes,” he says, “we stand to win 15 of the 17 Lok Sabha seats there and 7-8 in Seemandhra. If not, we won’t get any seats in Telangana.” Congress leaders are also worried over Jaganmohan Reddy attracting a chunk of the minority voteshare: Muslim, Christian and Dalit. The arrests of the Owaisi brothers, Akbaruddin and Asaduddin, say many, will drive the Muslims directly to Jagan.
YSR Congress leader Mysoora Reddy says his party’s stand on Telangana is clear. “The decision has to be such that it benefits everyone.” The Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) which used to look to the TRS for its agenda is also keeping a low profile. There have not been many agitations on the ground.
TDP leader and united Andhra supporter Kodela Sivaprasad says that, as the main opposition party, his side has done its job by presenting its case to Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde. “The UPA,” he says, “knows that it is a question not just of Telangana, but also of Bodoland, Gorkhaland, Vidarbha and Harit Pradesh. If the decision is provoked by political considerations rather than people’s interests, it will be from the frying pan into the fire for the Congress.” The TDP is patting itself on the back for having outwitted the Congress by issuing a letter stating it has no objection to Telangana.
MP Rajagopal feels a united Congress is more important than state formation. He thinks a Telangana resolution will be defeated in Parliament and it will be a united AP which will go to polls in 2014.
However, even if the UPA were to opt for a safer Telangana Territorial Administration, it will have to contend with an eroding voter base. Recent surveys show the voteshare for the TDP and Congress has fallen to 15-20 per cent, compared to 36.56 per cent for the Congress and 28.12 per cent for the TDP in 2009. Now, it is the YSR Congress which is likely to get a 30-35 per cent voteshare. Which means a bulk of the Muslim voters (9 per cent across AP), Christians (3 per cent), backward castes, Reddys, women and youth across all castes see Jagan as their future CM. So, unless the Congress pulls out several rabbits out of its hat, its prospects in AP will remain bleak.
I refer to the box on the Owaisi brothers in your AP story (The Return of T-Rex, Feb 4). The mim are ideological legatees of the paramilitary Raza–kars, who wanted the Nizam’s rule to continue in Hyderabad. Their depredations are legion.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Madhavi Tata >> Now, it is the YSR Congress which is likely to get a 30-35 per cent voteshare. Which means a bulk of the Muslim voters (9 per cent across AP), Christians (3 per cent), backward castes, Reddys, women and youth across all castes see Jagan as their future CM.
Excuse me.. You are telling us that Muslims, Christians, OBCs, Reddys, Women and yout majorly prefer Jagan as CM and also telling that he (Jagan) will get 35% vote..
Muslims+Christians - 15%; reddys - 15% ; OBCs - 40%; Others 30% and in that Women and Youth alone are 70%, making it 21%.
Adding all these gives us 91% and you are telling us that 35% out of 91% is Bulk of voters...
Such a useless shoddy journalism backed by even more useless editing, that is OUTLOOK for you..
Madhavi: This article has all the ingredients of a paid article, I am sure your conscience knows this. The article seems like analyzing the telangana movement, but it is only a mask, the main objective is to sing eulogies to Jagan. Few months back there is a cover story in outlook business projecting Jagan as an iconic business man....its a disgrace. There are several ways to make money, the worst amonst is by false propaganda that facilitates in demoralizing and dismantling the democratic institutions.
"Please don't run Outlook like your erstwhile Debonair": I would appreciate if you can convey this message to Mr. Vinod Mehta.
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