Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Splitting Because of a Rookie?

Vasu Reddy From Chicago

The state continues to be in turmoil and in agitation, and several weeks after the announcement of splitting Andhra Pradesh the tempers continue to be high. The children going to school and the workers going to work and the vendors and buyers and travelers and tourists; everyone is agitating or agitated. There is continued destruction and strife amidst the uncertainty of what will happen next with the division and what will be the consequences of separation?

The discussion on the main reason for separation being the influence of Jagan leading into the next election is discussed as the foremost in all the decisions made by the ruling party. Over decades of separation sentiment no party in power at the center declared their intention to separate the state, and Andhra Pradesh remains untied despite the sometimes real and sometimes mild discussions for separation of the regions. Politically it did not suit anyone in the center to support the division of Telugu speaking people.

The state delivered the parliamentary seats to the current ruling party in the last two election cycles along with the state government, and there was no reason to contemplate the separation of the state with things in favor of the party in power. The current state of affairs are very unfavorable both in the center and in the state, and status quo will probably be a zero benefit to Congress. Something has to be done to win the parliamentary seats and also possibly retain power in the state. The announcement to separate the state was going to bring support from the region agitation for separation, and also position the party in positive light in the region against the split, but the outcome of the announcement has been exactly the opposite. The appeacement of the separation movement did not workout as anticipated and the merger of the lone party that has been driving the separation has not been forthcoming, rather it has become a more contentious. The ruling party's decision has not been welcome in any region of the state as there are so much ambiguity in the process, no one is sure of what will be the reality when the state is divided.

Few people in leadership have come out and said that the decision of the ruling party has been made to counter Jagan's growing influence, and the near certainty of his part's victory in the upcoming elections; both at the state and central elections. This week there is one leader who has come out and said, that the congress had only one reason to declare the separate statehood; Jagan and his party. There is no doubt in this assertion and politically it may have back fired on the Congress losing out across the state. The the Telangana region the region if the regional party doesn’t merge with Congress, the ruling party will score Zero, and in the rest of Andhra Congress will score a Zero whatever its decision on the state.

The opposition parties have no loss or gain from the separation, except Jagan might have had the hold on the united Andhra Pradesh, instead of a separated state. The assumption that the congress will come into power in both regions by a simple virtue of its decision is at best the worst political blunder in the Indian democracy. The state has lost all its normal functioning and destruction everywhere, and no one is happy with the consequences of the decision. Work stoppages and property destruction continue and there is no stopping from rhetoric against everyone and everything. The state is unhappy with one decision or the other and the gloom of doom is all over the place, simply because of the way the decision was made and announced.

If the state was being divided for one single reason; avoid putting Jagan in power then the results have not yielded what was expected. The assumption of the separation movement will disappear and it will get merged into congress also seem to be farfetched. The entire state is unhappy with the regular announcements that come from the center and the posturing of the state leadership. It did not produce the desired results rather has created uncertainty and mistrust amongst the people.

Congress has run out of steam and ideas for leadership in the state, and perhaps need to be wise in the future steps leading to separation. The decisions made for Andhra have started demands in the other parts of the nation for separation, and a lot of fodder for the opposition parties. Its a no win situation, and if the announcement had any bearing on an individual politician who is new to politics, the ruling party has missed the boat by miles.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Playing to the Audience

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

The politicians of Andhra Pradesh are really trying hard to keep their constituents in good cheer, by playing to their fears and apprehensions. Since the division of the state has been in the news, there is more openness in their opinion on where they stand with the division of the state. It is not a new decision for the politicians to make, as their stance on the united or separate state is aligned with the region of the state they come from, and now that the Congress in the center has decided to announce its intention to divide the state, politicians have to come out in support of, or dividing the state; simply to play to their constituents.

The biggest drama is from the ruling party itself, as its leaders have always thought that the central leadership will continue to waffle on the decision making, were caught with the sudden decision to announce a divided Andhra Pradesh. They were always proclaiming to be abiding to the decision of the Central leadership, and once the decision was made their constituents did not like the decision made by the leaders in Delhi. Their leadership did not take the state leaders into confidence while announcing the decision, and no matter what the state leadership presented to the powers to be, did not help in the announcement.

The center has only one agenda, to survive in the center, and whatever consequences of their decision doesn't really matter to them. They were only counting how many seats they might win in the next election which is coming up in 2014. The issues of people have seldom been on the agenda of INS, and this decision too was not an issue of the government rather a decision of the politics.

Now that the center has gone ahead and announce their decision to split the state, the elected politicians have to pay the cards to keep their constituents still interested in voting for them in the next elections. They have to now think of a new act for the public to view and reelect them, while they have to keep the central leadership also pleased in their public support of the decision made for their state.

Congressmen have always suffered the humiliation meted out to them by the central leadership, and this instance is nothing new to them. Someone who is interested in continuing in power, and faraway from the people of the state will make decisions that are detrimental to the state, and there is absolutely nothing that the leaders of the state can do to support it. The claims to abide by the central leadership is only true if the center makes decisions in support of the local leaders and their constituents, not when the local constituents are 100% opposed to the decision of the center.

There are supporters of the separation, and their voices have been quite vocal until the announcement was made to split the state. The voices of people who want a united state have been mute until the elected politicians who represented them were blindsided by the decision to divide them. Now they have to play to the voices of people to keep their elected office at least for the current term. No one in the electorate is supportive of the congress politicians and their positions and posturing taken within their party, and nothing can save the party in united Andhra Pradesh as people of all regions are disenchanted with the party and their decision making. It might be likely that Congress might form poll alliances with the separatist parties and might also be able to play to the tensions of all of the people of the state. It is certain that they will not be able to retain the current number of seats in the parliament. It might also be possible that the alliances that congress anticipated might not happen, now that the decision to separate the state has been announced.

Elections are a year away and anything can happen between now and the next elections. For sure the congressmen will have to come up with a brand new set of script to play to their electoral audience. It will be quite interesting to see what they will tell people. The dramas of resignations has run out of steam, and their current voicing of anger has already been heard by the people. It is worth the wait and watch to see what these congressmen will enact for the people.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Divided States of Andhra Pradesh

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

Within days of the announcement by the Congress government on splitting the state into two regions, the people of Andhra Pradesh have simply forgotten their common bind having been a united Andhra Pradesh. Everyone is simply in favor of a separation or a united Andhra Pradesh for different reasons; which seem to come out of nowhere and only after the announcement of breaking up of the state. All of a sudden there is nothing in common for the same people who have lived together for generations. There are no common interests, no common identity, no common politics, and no common anything; if you listen to the rhetoric or read the news papers. Andhra Pradesh has become like two countries that seem to not coexist as one people, rather two states that simply loathe each other.

All of the bickering is fueled by the politicians who probably will have nothing to gain but a term in the office, and survival just because of the rhetoric that fuels the hatred in people. There is a comingling of people from the different parts of the state, in fact from all parts of the nation; over decades of working together, marriage and migration, education and employment and many other normal and natural aspects of human existence. It is not just people of the same state, but people of all states and all countries adapt to their environment as it best fits the needs of the land. It is not a foreign concept for people to migrate and adapt to their new home. The kids grow up to become entrenched into the new place much faster than the adults, and in reality it is their real home. People of all walks move constantly, and for a fact some statistics in the USA refer that 20% of the population moves every year, which is a normal and natural way of life which takes people wherever there is opportunity and need.

The situation in Andhra Pradesh is fueled by emotion and rhetoric rather than common sense. Every politician is claiming the injustices done to their region and how they will make it better or what might be worse for their region, thus fueling the fears of the public. These are the same guys who have represented people of the state for a long time, and the injustices meted out to their regions were not an issue for their time in the office to date? What were they doing in Hyderabad or in Delhi if things were so bad that other regions of the state were stealing from them? Why did they not raise the issues in public forum as elected representatives of their individual constituencies on a regular basis to make sure that they received the necessary allocations to meet the demands of their people? There are a thousand questions that come into mind on the idiots who are elected to represent the interests of the people. Each one of the elected representative is better off monetarily after getting elected to public office, and not a single one of them can claim that they are not better off after getting elected, and their family and friends get favors bestowed on them that are not available for the common man.

To divide or not to divide the state is not a common man’s issue. It is a political and power issue. The common man goes where there is opportunity and also looks for a stable and well managed economic situation, and not wanting to be in a constant state of fear and posturing by the few individuals who seek to further their personal ambitions by stoking the flames of fear amongst the people. The media channels constantly feed on the negative coverage and sensationalizing the statements of the politicians, which in turn create constant uncertainty in people. No one knows what is true and what rhetoric is.

India is famous for its fights about division of family properties and we constantly have examples of how brothers fight with brothers, and families kill each other over division of what is left behind by their ancestors. Siblings turn into enemies and friends become foes overnight when the time comes to dividing wealth. Dividing the state is no different, and our inherent attitude to keep everything for our own self is not going to go away with the division of the state. It is engrained in us, that we want all the wealth and give nothing to our siblings. The division of the state will face the same separation issues as we face in our family properties being split. There will be a lot of bad mouthing and bickering and nothing will be polite and gentlemanly.

We are at a point of no return and are heading for a split, and as we can see from the last few days of destruction. It is difficult to separate the state and satisfy all involved, and it has also become increasingly evident that the people in high places will not allow us to be together. This is going to play out like any other family situation embroiled in separation, with a lot of acrimony and animosity. It is our age old practice to divide and live by destroying each other and fighting within family.

Monday, August 05, 2013

United States of Andhra Pradesh

Vasu Reddy from Chicago

If we have three people from Andhra Pradesh, we might have several factions and groups, which might be aligned with everything under the sun.  One has to wonder how we can be called Telugu people with so much uncommon in our attitudes towards each other, and so much animosity to each other, even if we don’t belong to different districts of the state.  We can be neighbors and still don’t like each other.  Our differences are with everything from language, slang, caste, religion, and even street to street, from the regional differences.  Even our language has its own nuances and there is nothing that holds us together as one people and one state, and it is hard to imagine how the Telugu language survived such animosity between people that speak the language.

The late and beloved NTR fought for pride of the Telugu People until his death and his success as a politician was primarily based on the self determination and upholding the pride of Telugu people.  We Telugu people somehow were in one state of Andhra Pradesh for more than five decades and most of it strife ridden and un-cohesive as a unit of one language speaking people.  If there was a group of people who really lived together in indifference to each other, there is no better example than people of Andhra Pradesh.  Within their native places in India and when they migrate to other states or countries, we are so divisive in projecting ourselves as one unit.

The current situation with declaring the division of Andhra Pradesh into two separate states by the central government should come as no surprise to the people of Andhra Pradesh.  It does not behold the wishes of the common man, but is true to the politics of congress (divide and rule) and a few politicians in the state that keep driving the wedge of hatred on the regional basis of the current state.  We the people really believe in the constant badgering of hatemongering through every media outlet, and some innocents have given their life to the cause of separate statehood.  No amount of blood and destruction and hatred has been instrumental in declaration of separate statehood for the regions in Andhra Pradesh, but a political decision by a party that clearly doesn’t care about the socio-economic issues of any state, but only self-interest of its survival at the center.

We have destroyed enough infrastructures and killed enough innocents and spoke badly of everyone and anything in the world, and then come this unilateral declaration by the center without consultations and relevance to the state.  No one seems happy about the division once it was announced and the pro-division leaders and parties will no longer have any relevance to existence, and the anti-division leaders have no plans for a divided state.  The people are so polarized amongst themselves they have no idea of the impact or relevance of the division of the state and how and what needs to be done to make anything better in their environment.  The pro-division forces have already made comments on sending people to their original regions and the reactions from opposition have been swift and with some more violence.

There is no place for anyone to look from ten thousand miles away and make a recommendation on the separation or unification of any state or people.  The well being of a language and its race is more important than politics or people’s agendas.  The current state of the Telugu people is really up in limbo as their best interests or their economic considerations have not been fully thought out, and the leadership that might lead the divided state is not really showing any inclination to a partition that bears fruits to the people.  All this looks staged and political and has not put Telugu people first.

Past Perfect

Vasu Reddy from Chicago vasureddy@aol.com It has already happened. Past is already on the books, recorded, and can’t be changed.   It ...