By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 4: Telangana has taken the WikiLeaks by storm with the
website releasing yet another US cable revealing that the ruling Congress
may not take a decision on the controversial issue so soon. It was only last
week that a US cable on Telangana projected State Assembly speaker
Nadendla Manohar as one opposed to the division of the State.
Even as the Congress is struggle to come "clean" on the Manohar episode,
WikiLeaks releases another cable, this time of Timothy Roemer, then US
ambassador to India, in a prophesy in December 2009 that the Congress may
not take a quick decision on separate Telangana demand.
Timothy India, in his message to the US government on December 10, 2009
after Union Home Minister P Chidambaram made a statement on separate
Telangana, projected the Congress as a "weak and feeble" party that could be
"easily bullied and intimidated by threats".
Timothy's prophesy, now in the archives of WikiLeaks, has come as a major
political breather to the leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, even
as the T protagonists have planned several mass movements this month to
press for the separate State with the slogan, "now or never".
Describing the Congress as "weak and spineless", the US diplomat said the
party carved at the first signs of trouble. "It may already be regretting the
announcement. The party may go slow on the creation process," the cable
reportedly said. Though Timothy was not convinced about the way the
Congress tackled the controversial issue, he chose to send the report to
Washington with the title, "Telangana: a new state is born."
He said "street demonstrations in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana
region have been occurring over the last few days. Several self
immolation by Telangana supporters have also taken place. The
December 10 (next day) demonstration in Hyderabad promised to be a
particularly large, impassioned and unpredictable one that forced the
GOI to cave to Rao's demands."
The US diplomat feared that acceptance of the Telangana demand may kick
off similar demands from other areas. "There are many other statehood
demands simmering in India. These demands are likely to get a fresh impetus
from the overnight success of the Telangana movement. Within hours of the
GOI's Telangana decision, the Darjeeling-based Gorkha movement has called
for a 96-hour Darjeeling closure and a fast unto death by its some of it
members to press its demand that a separate Gorkha state be carved out
of West Bengal."
Timothy further noted that "the Congress party appears to have opened a can
of worms", as similar demands could come from Vidharba region of
Maharashtra, Bundelkhand and Poorvanchal regions of Uttar Pradesh.
He also referred to the statement of then chief minister K Rosaiah on the
"need for consensus". "Congress was not the only party to fear the
backlash. "TDP Leader N. Chandrababu Naidu stepped back from his
promise to back Telangana statehood only a day after stating that his
party would not oppose a resolution. He was seemingly stunned by the
mass resignation of TDP MLAs from Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra - the
heartland of the party's vote bank and a major source of the party's
The US diplomat also feels Hyderabad is a contentious issue. "A key issue
for many of these students is guaranteed access to the opportunities
represented by the vibrant job market in Hyderabad's Information
Technology (IT), biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries. With almost
1000 MBA and MCA colleges and over 500 engineering colleges in the state,
AP produces more engineers than any other state in India."
"The students fear that if the state is split, those coming from other
regions in search of jobs will be unwelcome in a Telangana-controlled
Hyderabad," he noted.
In another cable two weeks later, he noted that Congress party may be
banking on people "forgetting about" Telangana.
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