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Talking it over

There were no surprises at the meeting of eight Andhra Pradesh political parties called by Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday.

Written by The Indian Express |
January 7, 2010 1:36:08 am

There were no surprises at the meeting of eight Andhra Pradesh political parties called by Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday. As expected,no consensus was forged on the issue of statehood for Telangana. It is not just that political parties are divided amongst themselves on the demand — barring,of course,the TRS and the BJP,the former being founded on the demand and the latter too thin a presence in the state’s politics to worry about taking a strong stand on statehood. It is that parties are internally divided on what is becoming a divisive regional issue.

It is nonetheless progress that there may be set up,without protest,a panel that will hold consultations with all the stakeholders. Even without the kind of emotive divide seen these past weeks on statehood and,significantly,the status of Hyderabad,breaking up a state is hard to do. It is often overlooked that both the original state and the one carved out would be successor states. The demands and concerns of both must be carefully attended to. Besides the necessity of such a mechanism,the process thus begun would help calm the politics over Telangana. It will,for starters,help the Congress regain control over its MPs from and MLAs in Andhra Pradesh. As the party dominant in the assembly and among the state’s representatives in Parliament,the political ruptures in the Congress — once the demand on Telangana was conceded by the Centre — had threatened to extend instability in the state. The government must,however,also ensure the widest possible participation in any consultations.

With the air thick,too,with demands for another states reorganisation commission,the panel’s experience could clarify the terms and conditions that could inform such an exercise.

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