Telangana: The gamble Congress took in 2014
Today is Telangana formation day. The 29th state of India was formed after decades of agitation and flip flops by political parties. It was finally the UPA government at the Centre which decided to accord a separate state of Telangana in the run up to the 2014 elections.
The movement was largely led by the students and after the formation of the Telangana Rastriya Samithi, the issue turned political. The TRS founded by K Chandrashekar Rao had only one agenda and that was the formation of the state.
He had entered into an alliance with the Congress when Rajashekara Reddy was the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. However the state was not formed and Andhra Pradesh remained united. Reddy held immense control over the entire state.
However following his death, the Congress party split with his son, Jagan Reddy coming out and forming the YSR Congress party. The Congress was weakened to a great extent and KCR stepped up the pressure on the Congress to declare a separate state.
The Congress which had ruled for two straight terms at the Centre was facing a crucial election in 2014. Many from the Congress who belonged to the Telangana region pressurised the high command to give in to the demand. The Congress was hoping for a big win in a new state as it felt that the people who have been agitating for several years would reward it.
KCR on the other hand was stepping up the pressure as well. The Congress was not entirely sure whether the people would entirely back it in the elections as the movement got political recognition due to the efforts of KCR. The Congress began bargaining with the TRS for an alliance ahead of the elections. The Congress said that the state would be formed if TRS agreed to the alliance.
However KCR sensed more on the ground and felt that the people would reward him first.
He was confident of a full majority and felt that allying with the Congress would make him the junior partner in the alliance. He told the Congress that he would stitch up an alliance after the Centre makes the announcement. The Congress was left with no choice. Not according a state would have been a huge risk as the party would have reduced to single digits in the elections at Telangana.
The Congress took the risk and granted the state. However after the decision was made, KCR said that there would be no pre-poll alliance with the Congress. This was termed as a betrayal by many in the Congress. The elections were held in 2014 and the full mandate went to the TRS, which is currently ruling the state.