Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hyderabad should never lose its cosmopolitan nature

A crucial meeting of the Home Minister along with leaders of Andhra Pradesh is slated for today on the Telangana issue. The meeting gains significance in the wake of the vast division that there is in Andhra Pradesh over this issue. However from what can be heard and witnessed it does not appear as though both parties are going to buckle down and will stick to their respective demands.

The Telangana Joint Action Committee will have a crucial role to play from now onwards. It will have to ensure several things- one is to keep the entire tribe united and also ensure come what may, their supporters don’t resort to violence and get branded as mischief mongers in the state.

The Chairman of the Joint Action Committee, Prof. Kodanda Ram is very clear about their stand and says that there is no compromise formula that is available at this point of time. In this interview with rediff.com, he also puts to rest the fears of the people of Andhra and Rayalseema who think they will lose their homes once Telangana is formed.

What was the purpose behind setting up the Telangana Joint Action Committee?
The people of Telangana have been demanding united activity all along. The formation of the Joint Action Committee has only ensured that their dreams have come true and leaders of various political parties have come under one umbrella. People wanted a show of unity and the JAC was set up in order to show that to the people.

Despite the setting up of the Joint Action Committee there does not seem to be any reselution to the problem. Various political parties continue to oppose the demand for a separate state. Could you comment on this please?

The Joint Action Committee does not mean a merger. Each political party has its own identity and will continue to have that. What we at the JAC want to ensure is that all political parties come under one roof or umbrella and resolve the entire issue without getting into any kind of conflict. It is a long process, but we are hopeful it would happen.

What does the JAC plan to do in future?
The Joint Action Committee has a three pronged strategy. First and foremost we have no intention of working at cross purposes. Secondly we want to create an awareness and have a common minimum understanding on basic issues. Finally the JAC also wants to ensure that there is a common minimum programme of action on this issue

What is the opinion of the JAC on the various political parties which are opposing the formation of Telangana?
Only the Telangana Rastriya Samithi and the Bharatiya Janata Party have a clear stand on this issue and that is they are in favour of the formation of Telangana. The Praja Rajyam Party is divided into two on this issue. The main problem that we face is from the Telegu Desam Party and the Congress. These parties are heavily divided and this is what is causing the delay.

There is an important meeting with the Home Minister today. How do you think the equation of the issue would change after this meeting?
The meeting is a make or break one. One thing I can say for sure is that the division within the TDP, Congress and PRP will become sharper after this meeting. These parties have two options before them. Either they will have to convince their leaders to tow the line or they will need to break away permanently. The days to come will eventually result in the polarization of all political forces.

Is there a slight possibility of a compromise on this issue?
I am afraid there is no question of a compromise. This movement has come way too far and there is no question of going back. However what could be done is that all leaders sit across the table and have a peaceful discussion on this issue and form the state.

Hyderabad is the bone of contention here. What is your view about the same?
Hyderabad will always be with Telangana and the rest of the citizens will enjoy equal status.

There is an issue pertaining to the investors who appear to be scared of investing in Hyderabad if Telangana is formed. What are your thoughts about this?
Telangana will require a lot of investors and industries. There is absolutely no need for the investor to be scared. In no way is the fight of the people of Telangana with the investor. The reason why the investor has his apprehensions is because there are some vested interests who are coming in the way and floating a propaganda. The people of Telangana will always support the investor as long as they don’t come in the way of political demands. We will ensure that the investor will remain in Hyderabad and will take all steps necessary to safeguard their interests.

Will the Mulki rule of the Nizam return once Telangana is formed? ( The Mulki rule mandates that any outsider will have to live 14 years in the state to be eligible for equal rights)
Not possible at all. The Constitution has incorporated all these people and things cannot be contrary to the Indian constitution. At this point of time there is no tension among the people of Andhra and Rayalseema. The tension is being created by some of the leaders. We are in no way opposed to the outsiders. However in federalism we need to ensure that the development of the local people. I would like to point out here that Hyderabad is a cosmopolitan city and under no circumstances can it lose this status. Whatever change may occur, Hyderabad can and should not never lose its cosmopolitan nature since it needs that to sustain itself. If at any point there is an attempt to change that nature, then it will prove disastrous for Hyderabad and there will be terrible tension. All people living in Telangana will and have to be protected at any cost. This is what we will strive for and ensure it happens.

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