The Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress accused UPA leaders of irrationally dividing Andhra Pradesh. The Congress hit back, pointing to their letters to the centre in support of Telangana. The BJP cried injustice but ended up supporting the reorganisation of the state in Parliament. And the Jai Samaikhyandhra Party that former chief minister Kiran Reddy floated against the bifurcation, lost steam.
Apart from the bifurcation-specific Telangana Rashtra Samithi, national and regional parties contesting the Lok Sabha and assembly polls in the state have tried to cater to sentiments on either side of the mental divide. But people have seen through their “balancing act”.
In the Seemandhra region, where each party is blaming the other for the bifurcation mess, several locals say the parties are collectively responsible for taking Telangana away from them. They have thus decided to come out on Wednesday — the day of polling — to press the NOTA (none of the above) button, the newest option provided by the Election Commission.
“I am firm on NOTA,” says Padavala Suribabu, 32, a farmer in Kothota village of West Godavari district in Coastal Andhra. “The way they divided the state without a debate or live telecast and amid chaos is condemnable in a democracy like ours.”
Suribabu took active part in the Samaikhyandra (United Andhra) agitation that went on for more than 100 days in the 13 districts of Seemandhra after the Congress gave its seal of approval on July 30 last year to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and Seemandhra (Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema).
In Kurnool town of Rayalaseema, N Pradeep Kumar, who runs an electronics store, shares Suribabu’s thoughts. Kumar also took part in the agitation and set up a small forum to protect interests of people of Rayalaseema, a parched region that is expected to suffer the most from the division.
Passions are slowly subsiding but the bifurcation decision seems to have left Kumar with a bad taste. “These politicians and political parties repulse me. Except for their own narrow interests, what have they done for the people? Go around the town — no drinking water, no sewer system. It makes sense to choose NOTA,” he says.
Seemandhra has 25 Lok Sabha and 175 assembly seats. Elections to 17 LS and 119 assembly seats in Telangana were held on April 30.