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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 52, December 12, 2009

In Utter Desperation


Saturday 12 December 2009, by SC


Has the Centre finally given in to the demand of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for a separate Telangana State? The answer appeared to be ‘yes’ late last night when the Union Home Minister announced, after a series of parleys among the central leaders on the issue, that the process of forming the separate State would be shortly initiated by the adoption of an appropriate resolution in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly. That announcement resulted in TRS President K. Chandrashekhar Rao giving up, after eleven days, his indefinite fast for projecting the separate Telangana demand. The Centre’s decision was in large measure prompted by KCR’s deteriorating health condition—it did not want to turn him into another Potti Sriramulu!

However, the last word has yet to be spelt out on the call for a separate Telangana State. For one, the agitationists’ insistence on Hyderabad becoming the capital of the proposed new State is a major sticking-point. Moreover, as we go to press news has come that 93 MLAs of the Rayalaseema and coastal areas have resigned to register their stout opposition to the move to carve a separate State out of Andhra.

Meanwhile the Lok Sabha discussion on the Liberhan Commission report on the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid not only exposed once again the BJP’s untenable position on the issue but also demonstrated the party stalwarts’ inability to engage in introspective soul-searching 17 years after the tragic incident. The party MPs confined themselves to making wild charges against Justice Liberhan besides rhetorical statements to denigrate the document. And once a Congress MP used offensive words against former PM A.B. Vajpayee (who has been indicated in the report alongwith L.K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi as a pseudo-moderate) all hell broke loose with the members of the principal Opposition party doing whatever was possible to unsuccessfully prevent the Union Home Minister from replying to the debate. In stark contrast Chidambaram, in a powerful and effective speech, explained how the BJP leaders had broken “every single promise” made before the Supreme Court to protect the disputed structure. At the same time he had no hesitation in admitting the “wrong political judgment” of former PM P.V. Narasimha Rao who relied on those promises instead of taking measures to preserve the mosque, a grave error for which, the Minister frankly confessed, the Congress had to pay a heavy political price.

In the Rajya Sabha too the BJP members employed similar tactics, thereby making a mockery of themselves apart from alienating the party from the public at large.

Blinded by their holy tirade against Justice Liberhan, his report and secularists of all hues, the BJP and its partners in the Sangh Parivar seem to have lost their balance and, with it, their credibility. By their behaviour they are in effect only betraying their sense of utter desperation.

December 10 S.C.

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