Friday, October 25, 2013

ABC of capital cities in India

What is a state’s capital?

A state could have administrative, legislative and judicial capitals.  ‘Legislative’ capital houses the state assembly, while the ‘administrative’ capital houses the state’s government offices.  Judicial capital houses the state high court.  When we refer to the capital city of a state, it is usually a city that hosts both administrative and legislative capitals.   A state could operate its high court from another city – for example, Uttar Pradesh has its high court in Allahabad while the state capital is Lucknow.

Who decides the capital city for a state in India?

Contrary to the prevailing opinion in Andhra Pradesh, the Union Government does not decide where a state’s capita should be, nor does it mention the state’s capital in the state reorganization bill.  The responsibility of choosing a state capital resides with each state.  It can decide to host its administrative and legislative capitals out of any city, town or village within its territory.   And the territory of a state is defined clearly in the state reorganization bill, listing all its districts and constituencies.  Though it is not the common practice, a state could choose more than one state capital.  For example, Maharashtra has Mumbai and Nagpur as its capital cities.  And the state could change its capital city any time – Gujarat moved its capital city from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Article 371-D does not stop formation of Telangana

[Appeared in Asian Age and Deccan Chronicle on 21 Oct 2013, and in Andhra Jyothi on 22 Oct 2013; coauthored with Vinod Kumar]

The state of Andhra Pradesh was forged out of two culturally and historically disparate regions in 1956 under the premise of creating a single state for all Telugu speaking people.   Even before the formation of this state, it was articulated by the Fazal Ali Commission, and voiced explicitly through the fears of Telangana people, that a common language was not the only criterion for creating states.  There was a sane recognition, though in minority, that there existed other differences which warranted a region like Telangana to exist as a separate state overriding the emotive binding factor like language. 

To protect the interests of Telangana people against possible onslaught of more politically empowered, economically emancipated, and Telugu-English-educated people from Coastal Andhra, the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1956 was created to facilitate the conditional merger of Telangana region with Andhra State.  The original Article 371 constituted Telangana Regional Committee along with protective Mulki Rules.

Should President’s Rule be imposed to create Telangana?

[Appeared in Indian Express on 8th October, 2013; coauthored with Vinod Kumar]

Contrary to the prevailing opinion, in this country, new state formation has never been smooth. Nor were the procedures exactly similar. Each state formation was unique and had followed a different sequence of steps.  The only thing common to all the state formations so far in Independent India has been the rigid applicability of Article 3 in its truest sense, where Parliament is given the supreme authority to carve out states irrespective of the opinion of the involved State Assemblies.

While the NDA followed a convenient procedure in the creation of Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand in 2000, where the state assemblies initiated the demand for separation, such a procedure is neither legally mandated nor is constitutionally prescribed and deviates from most other prior state formations. 

Even the original reason for carving out states is different for each state. While some states in India were formed on the basis of recommendations by the States Reorganization Commission (SRC), most others have not been dealt with by the SRC. And in certain cases, states were formed though SRC made explicit negative recommendations, like in case of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Even the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956 did not follow the recommendations of SRC.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Irreconcilable impasse in Andhra Pradesh

The entire Seemandhra political objection to the current decision on Telangana has been that ‘the concerns and demands of Seemandhras have not been addressed’.   However, till today, there has been no clear announcement from any section of Seemandhra on what those concerns and demands are.

For example, today on NTV, when the APNGOs were asked the question, ‘what are you demands and concerns?’ they all responded, that they may have some concerns, but they are not going to spell it out, because they have only demand – that is United Andhra Pradesh. 

When asked if they would express their concerns and demands to GoM that is constituted by the Union Government, they emphatically said they would not.  Because they believe GoM is not empowered to address their concerns and demands.  One of them said that there is no use talking to GoM because none of them are from Andhra region.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Formation of Telangana: Who to blame for the current crisis in Seemandhra?

Now that the Cabinet Note on Telangana is prepared, the people of Seemandhra are in open revolt.  They launched violent agitations against bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.  For the first time in four years of agitations in the state, curfew has been imposed in Vizianagaram.   

Many Seemandhra leaders, the media channels, the activists, and the people, are blaming UPA for the current crisis in Andhra Pradesh.  They have been openly accusing UPA government for the method and process it followed.  They accuse it of acting in haste.  They accuse UPA of announcing this decision only for political gains.  They believe that the bifurcation is an insult to Telugu Jaati (Pride).  They also believe that the process followed in announcing formation of Telangana is anti-democratic and anti-federal.

In reality, there is no merit in any of these accusations.   Formation of Telangana has been a thirteen-year long process.  There have been many promises, manifestos, meetings, decisions, committees, and consultations on Telangana, and each of those steps inched Andhra Pradesh closer to the bifurcation.  In fact, there was an inordinate delay caused by activism of Seemandhras who tried to obstruct the formation of Telangana all these years.  Now that the decision is made, Seemandhras find themselves in a state of self-created crisis.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Video: Seemandhras admit they have colonized Telangana

For many years now, Telanganas have been trying to showcase to the whole world how Seemandhras have colonized Telangana.  To establish this we used facts, statistics, data, and many examples.  We have cited many issues where Telanganas were neglected, discriminated or marginalized.  If Seemandhras were keen on keeping the state united, they would have used the last four years to address at least some of our issues - like implementing GO 610.  Instead they used threatening language - CM Kiran Kumar Reddy warned our MLA Harish Rao that Telangana will not even get one rupee.  Undavalli promised to use the tyranny of majority to obstruct formation of Telangana forever.  Parakala Prabkhar and his ilk have rubbished all our demands as lies.  There was never an attempt to understand what our problems were. 

Today, in the last sixty days, Seemandhras try to establish a case for united State.  How do they do it?  While we talk of our lost water, lost opportunities and lost jobs, they respond with slogans like 'kalasi unte kaladu sukham', 'Oka Baasha, Oka Rashtram'.   If Seemandhras were really sincere in keeping the state united, wouldn't they take a look at our issues and respond to them?  
Seemandhras, instead of addressing the issues raised by Telanganas, have gone on an aggressive path – like how colonizers do.  They are raising fears and tempers within their region through artificial apprehensions and imaginary fears.  CM Kiran Kumar Reddy warns of ‘water wars’.  Other leaders have said that Seemandhras will have to eat grass to survive.  Some of them declared war on Telangana – some warned of creating an army, some said they will burst the pipes which provide water to Hyderabad, and some said they will demolish Telangana Bhavan.

To understand better how Seemandhras admit they have colonized Telangana, here is a video propagated by them.  They clearly establish that Seemandhra cannot produce anything of its own and that it is completely dependent on Telangana for everything – for food, water, revenues, employment and education – isn’t that what colonial masters do?  Use the colonies for appropriating all their resources, opportunities and monopolizing the trade and commerce? 

In the end, they ask: "Should we give up Telangana?", exactly echoing how a colonial master thinks of his colonies - only as a provider of resources.  

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Seemandhras admit they have colonized Telangana

What Potti Sriramulu fought for in 1952

There is a big problem we Telanganas find when faced with sheer ignorance of Seemandhras.  We find them extremely ignorant on topics related to history, geography, constitutional and legal issues - so much so that it is like a discussing Newtonian Physics with a dog.  

Why are Seemandhras so ignorant on these extremely important topics?  That's because they are indoctrinated with false information.  Yesterday (Oct 1st) was 60th anniversary of formation of Andhra State.  But the map shown on NTV was that of Andhra Pradesh.  So most naturally many people in Andhra Pradesh believe that Andhra State is same as Andhra Pradesh.  

So, let's educate them the proper way.