Telangana: Did political opportunism hijack a popular movement?

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Did the Congress leave the Telangana decision for far too late? The last leg in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls next year has been so painful for the party that there is little hope in whatever it does now. The 'royal coup' of September 27 has aggravated its problem further by rendering the top leadership of the UPA a non-existent one.

From a long-awaited popular aspiration, the episode on Telangana has been reduced to a hopeless blood game. This is a tragedy that the entire socio-economic dynamics of a popular movement has become a game of political opportunism.

One gets the feeling that the fire over Telangana has been fuelled more by Rahul Gandhi's act of September 27, for once he trashed the credibility of the prime minister of the country and his cabinet, there is little respect left for the Congress leadership on the ground. With the 10-year-old UPA standing a crippled regime, its political foes will not spare any opportunity to corner it further and Telangana offers one such opportunity.

What if the Congress itself gets split in Andhra Pradesh now?

The movement for separate statehood deserved a much better finishing touch. The aspects of culture, geography, economics and even internal security should have been high on the agenda for the central leadership but the fragile regime in New Delhi messed up the situation, thanks to an utter lack of management on the ground.

Even the chief minister of the state, a politician little known, has dared to question the leadership's decision on Telangana. The Congress's plan to reap benefit from a state which had played a major part in helping it win power at the Centre in 2004 and 2009 by dividing it could fall flat further if the state unit of the party also gets split.

The focus of the Telangana movement has been lost amid games of political manipulation. It is now a movement for Seemandhra which has become a bigger issue. Seven months before the national elections and the ruling coalition grounded by critics both within and without, there is little hope that the Congress will be able to bring the discussion back to the table.

Will a divided and crippled Andhra remain a haunting legacy of Manmohan Singh's UPA II government?

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