People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 31

August 04 , 2013




Separate State of Telangana


AFTER years of prevarication, the Congress party’s working committee has adopted a unanimous resolution that the state of Telangana, carved out from the present state of Andhra Pradesh, will be soon established in the coming months.  There are, however, various steps which need to be  taken in order to translate this decision into a reality. 


Once the union cabinet approves  this decision to form a separate state of Telangana, the central government will seek resolutions for the creation of a new state from the current Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly and the legislative council separately.  Once the president of India receives these resolutions, he will forward them to the union cabinet which will then set-up a group of ministers (GoM) to work out the details and the process of bifurcation  of the existing state of Andhra Pradesh.  Upon receiving these plans, the president will  forward these to the AP legislative assembly for its views within a given time-frame.  Subsequently, a draft Bill will be prepared by the union cabinet and introduced for approval  separately in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.  Once this legislation is adopted by the parliament, the president will specify  the date for the new state to be born.  The state of Telangana will come into existence on that specified date  with the presidential order  being published in the AP and union government gazettes. 


The Congress party's prevarication on the issue of separate state of Telangana is nothing new.  More than four decades ago (from 1968 onwards) after a violent agitation that saw large-scale loss of property with over 300 lives lost in police firing, an agreement was reached for ensuring the development of the Telangana region and eliminating its relative economic backwardness.  In 1973, the then Congress government at the Centre introduced the 32nd amendment to the constitution which come into force in 1974. The constitution was amended by adding Article 371 D, "Special provisions with respect to the state of Andhra Pradesh" which, amongst others, provided that the  president "may by order.....provide .....for equitable opportunities and facilities  for the people belonging  to different parts of the state, in the matter of public employment and in the matter of education, and different provisions may be made for various parts of the state". 


The history of the last four decades is witness to the fact that all promises and assurances made to the people of Telangana to eliminate their relative backwardness were, by and large, betrayed.  It is the Congress party, leading the governments both at the centre and in the state, for long periods during these four decades that is primarily responsible  for not  redeeming the assurances made to the people. 


However, another step that may be required to be taken to pave the way for the formation of the state of Telangana would be to repeal Article 371 D from the Indian constitution as this would become infructuous.  A constitutional amendment to this effect may have to be adopted by the parliament before the state of Telangana could be legally formed.


Historically, it must be recollected  that the Telugu-speaking people  fired the first salvo, after independence, for a linguistic reorganisation of the states.  The martyrdom of Potti Sriramulu, galvanised the movement for Vishalandhra. This soon found a reverberation in the movements of Aikya Kerala and Samyukta Maharashtra.  It was the strength of these massive popular struggles that eventually led to the linguistic reorganisation of the Indian State after the integration of the princely States into independent India.  The CPI(M) has all along stood for the integrity of the Union of Indian States based on  this democratic principle of linguistic reorganisation. 


The mishandling of the situation by both the central government and the state governments led by the Congress party in various states of the country has now given rise  to a large number of demands from various parts of the country for the formation of separate states.  Soon after this announcement of the Congress Working Committee decision on Telangana, a three day bandh call has been given in the Darjeeling hill areas of West Bengal demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.  Similar calls for a separate state of Bodoland have also been given.  Such calls for creation of newer states on the basis of various identities has serious consequences not only for  the federal content and structure of the Indian constitution but also in unleashing potentially disruptive  tensions in the country.


Therefore, while the current  process for the formation of the state of Telangana is on, it is of utmost necessity that people must maintain peace and tranquility and shun the proclivity to succumb to provocation.  At the same time, it is the responsibility of the central and the state governments headed by the Congress party to maintain peace and normalcy.

(July 31, 2013)