'Higher office aspiration behind Telangana demand'
Hyderabad: It is the "demand for greater political space" and the "aspiration for higher offices" that
has actually fuelled the craving for creation of a separate Telangana state, which is showing "rapid development" along most parameters.
This is one of the significant findings of the five-member Justice Srikrishna Committee that studied the
situation in Andhra Pradesh for over 11 months.
"Telangana as a region, notwithstanding some genuine grievances, is showing rapid development along most parameters. The regional sentiment for a separate state should thus be seen as a demand for greater political space, power and a stronger say in the affairs of the region and of the state," the Srikrishna Committee observed in the chapter on "Sociological and Cultural Issues" in its report made public
"As the political space has expanded at various levels of governance, the aspiration for higher offices has grown. At a pragmatic level, a new state can often provide the fastest route to high political offices," the Committee noted.
Stating that Telangana groups have alleged "discrimination" in access to political power in the state,
the Committee referred to their argument that several agreements and promises, including the 'Gentlemen’s Agreement' signed during the formation of Andhra Pradesh, were not adhered to.
"Coastal Andhra had the maximum Chief Ministers (10) while CMs from Rayalaseema ruled the longest (23 years 9 months). Together, the Seema-Andhra region held the position of CM for 42 years while Telangana held it for only 10.5 years. Thus, the combined domination of the Seema-Andhra
region is apparent," the Committee pointed out.
Telangana region has certainly had a much shorter span of holding the position of chief minister which remains the all-powerful position in Indian states and this could be redressed to remove the sense of political alienation, it said.
Referring to the post of deputy chief minister, which was also part of the Gentlemen’s Agreement, the Srikrishna Committee said, "Of a total of 16.5 years for which there was a Deputy CM in AP, the position was held for roughly 8 years by both sides.
"This is again a violation of the agreement as with the longer period of post of CM being held by Seema-Andhra side, there should have been concomitantly a longer period as Deputy CMs for the Telangana side."
However, the Telangana side cannot claim total lack of representation as it held the key Home, Finance, Revenue and Irrigation portfolios for fairly long periods, the Committee said.