Thursday, December 17, 2009

[ZESTCaste] Cong split, now Dalit group talks Jai Andhra

Cong split, now Dalit group talks Jai Andhra

D K Singh Posted online: Thursday , Dec 17, 2009 at 1544 hrs

New Delhi : The political slugfest in Andhra Pradesh over the issue of
statehood for Telangana looked set to get murkier with yet another
group of Congress MPs joining the battle of succession for the legacy
of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.
A group of Dalit leaders, led by Amalapuram MP G V Harsha Kumar and
including Bapatla MP Panabaka Lakshmi, were learnt to be backing a
Dalit organisation, Mala Mahanadu, to launch a separate Andhra ("Jai
Andhra") movement from Thursday, which would support the creation of a
separate state of Telangana on the plea that it would help Malas of
Andhra (who dominate the coastal region).

As it is, the Congress in Andhra Pradesh looked split into three
groups: one group demanding a separate Telangana state; another
supporting Jaganmohan Reddy who favours "samayaka (united)" Andhra;
and the third which seeks to piggyback on a Dalit organisation to
espouse the cause of "Jai Andhra" that was set to be a coastal Andhra
affair given the dominance of Malas in that region.

In the fourth category falls Vijayawada MP L Rajagopal who was seeking
to emerge as the champion of "samayaka (united) Andhra", as against
Jagan who was believed to have fallen out of the Congress high
command's favour.

Harsha Kumar, a known critic of the late YSR, and Eluru MP K S Rao had
a heated exchange of words in Defence Minister A K Antony's chamber on
Tuesday when the Amalapuram MP demanded disciplinary action against
Jagan for joining TDP MPs in raising slogans for united Andhra in the
Lok Sabha.

On Wednesday, K Sivaji, head of the breakaway Mala Mahanadu addressed
a press conference at Harsha Kumar's official residence in New Delhi
and announced that his organisation would start a state-wide agitation
from Thursday to form "Jai Andhra". Among the two SC groups of Malas
and Madigas, the latter, dominant in Telangana region, are in a
numerical majority in Andhra Pradesh. If Telangana is created as a
separate state, Malas would dominate the bifurcated Andhra.

The Congress high command was, however, learnt to be disinclined to
intervene, even as the sharply divided state unit fought over the
political sweepstakes in Andhra Pradesh, which threatened to further
exacerbate the situation and also split the Congress's Dalit votebank
in the state. Congress president Sonia Gandhi was expected to clear
the air in her speech at the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP)
meeting, which was scheduled on Wednesday. The meeting was, however,
deferred to Monday.

MPs from Telangana and non-Telangana regions, in the mean time,
continued their pressure tactics calling on top leaders with their
respective demands. MPs from non-Telangana regions met Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh demanding a formal statement from the government that
Telangana would not be created without the state Assembly passing a
resolution to this effect. "But the PM gave us no such assurance," MP
K S Rao told The Indian Express.

On Monday, when these MPs had called on Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee, he was said to have pulled out two sheets of paper — a copy
of Home Minister P Chidambaram's statement on Telangana last Thursday
and a copy of the Congress manifesto in Andhra Pradesh Assembly
election in 2004. "What is the difference, you tell me. The Home
Minister only repeated what the party had already stated," a visibly
upset Mukherjee was learnt to have told those MPs.

Meanwhile, a delegation of MPs from Telangana region also called on
Mukherjee who told them that they had no reason to complain as they
had got what they wanted, said sources. Mukherjee asked them to
exercise restraint as tempers were already running high in Andhra


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