If ever there was a report that tries to be all things to all people and ends up pleasing no one, it is the one filed by the Srikrishna Committee on the contentious Telangana issue. While the underlying theme of the report is to have a unified Andhra Pradesh and possible Union Territory status for the state capital Hyderabad, it appears dead in the water from day one. The report has recommended several permutations and combinations, none of which have pleased the prime agitator, the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS), which is adamant on a separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital. As things stand now, the TRS will not be able to go it alone on the Telangana issue. Since getting the Congress on board is not an option, the logically ally would be the BJP. The Opposition party has already weighed in on the side of creating Telangana but with no roadmap as to how this can be done or how the controversial issue of Hyderabad can be settled.
What is worrying is that BJP president Nitin Gadkari has already threatened to stall the budget session of Parliament if a Bill for the creation of a separate state is not introduced. This, along with the other issues that Mr Gadkari’s party has been using to derail Parliament, can only cause further disillusionment with a seemingly cynical political class. But for the moment, the Congress is on the backfoot. If it agrees to create Telangana, it loses massively in other parts of the state such as Rayalaseema that oppose any division of the state. The Congress is already on shaky ground in this area with Jaganmohan Reddy, son of the late Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajashekhara Reddy, challenging it. With Jaganmohan, who is riding on a wave of sympathy for his immensely popular father, gaining ground, the Congress looks unable to hold its own flock together in the state, leave alone tackle a belligerent BJP or the TRS.
Where the Srikrishna report makes a valid point is that a separate Telangana could become fertile ground for increased Maoist activity. This could have severe implications that have been overlooked in this explosive political atmosphere. Since it is clear now that the solution has to be political, it is incumbent on all the political parties concerned to sit across the table and hammer out a viable solution. Too many young people have already died over this issue in the last round of agitations. The Srikrishna report may be disappointing but it would be worth the time and money spent on it if it forms a starting point for an all-party discussion.