Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: west bengal government

Congress versus TMC

Congress and TMC are partners in UPA at centre and have coalition government in West Bengal. The relationship between the two has worsened in recent days. There is talk of Congress aligning with SP after UP elections.

There are no permanent friends or permanent enemies in politics. Congress needs TMC at centre. TMC does not need Congress in West Bengal. Both call each other CPI-M’s B team and compare to watermelon, green outside, red inside.

Mamata Banerjee, leader of TMC, opposed Congress on Teesta River Water Treaty, petrol price hike, FDI in retail. TMC voted for Lokpal Bill in Lok Sabha and opposed it in Rajya Sabha and moved amendments. Dinesh Trivedi said he had opposed Lokpal Bill in cabinet. He was overruled.

The decision to rename Indira Bhavan as Nazrul Bhavan has become another issue. Congress members oppose renaming of Indira Bhavan. In India many buildings, roads, airports and other places are named or renamed after members of Gandhi family. Alexander Dock became Indira Dock. Connaught Circus became Indira Chowk. Rajasthan Canal became Indira Canal. Southernmost point of India was renamed Indira Point. There is Indira Gandhi International Airport. There is Indira Gandhi Open University. There is Indira Awas Yojana.

Congress members say their sentiments are hurt. Their sentiments are not hurt when babies die in hospitals. TMC says there is no notification naming the building as Indira Bhavan. If something can be renamed after Indira Gandhi something named after Indira Gandhi can be renamed something else. If TMC’s intention is to please Muslims it is following in footsteps of Congress which announced 4.5% minority reservation in OBC quota and provided for a minority member in Lokpal.

Some people use words like blackmail regarding TMC. Politics is not charity. TMC has its interests. UPA does not have a co-ordination committee. Congress takes decisions and expects allies to fall in line. DMK is out of power in Tamil Nadu and needs Congress. Other parties do not have many MPs. If Congress breaks alliance with TMC, Congress ministers will be out of West Bengal government and TMC ministers will be out of central government. TMC government will not fall. Congress will need MPs to keep UPA going. Getting SP in UPA to make for numbers will create new problems.

Telangana and small states

Telangana is back in news. TRS, BJP and CPI want statehood for Telangana. Congress is divided. TDP, PRP and CPM are opposed to statehood for Telangana.

Many times politicians make promises they do not intend to keep. They have to pay the price. Congress had promised statehood for Telangana in 2004 and 2009. In Telangana all MPs and MLAs had promised statehood for Telangana in 2009. When the process for initiation of the formation of Telangana began in December 2009 many politicians went back on their word and opposed Telangana.

Appointing Srikrishna Commission was meant to buy time. That did not serve the purpose. The commission gave six options. For people of Telangana the only option acceptable is formation of Telangana with Hyderabad as capital.

Congress did not want TRS to get credit for the formation of Telangana. There was the farce of Congress MPs fasting for withdrawal of cases against people booked for arson and other offences during the agitation for Telangana. On the second day of fast their demand was granted. Though there was no demand for withdrawal of cases against people from Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra, cases against them were also withdrawn.

Congress had a chance to appoint someone from Telangana as chief minister and all ministers from Telangana when K. Roasaiah was asked to quit. It did not do. Kiran Kumar Reddy is opposed to Telangana. As Speaker in December 2009 when Andhra and Rayalaseema MLAs resigned he did not accept their resignations and the problem worsened.

Some oppose statehood for Telangana saying it will give rise to similar demands elsewhere. There is nothing wrong in demanding statehood. They remain part of India. In 2000 Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh were formed. That did not give rise to many demands. Paramilitary forces that should have been in North-East India are deployed in Telangana and there is no one to check violence in parts of Assam and Meghalaya.

A referendum is being held in South Sudan to decide on the demand of the people there to secede from Sudan. Demand for statehood is not secession.

Uttar Pradesh government is not opposed to its division. UP Legislative Assembly has passed resolutions favouring division. West Bengal government is opposed to formation of Gorkhaland. BJP is in favour of Vidarbha, Shiv Sena is against it. There has not been much popular demand for Vidarbha. Demand for Coorg occasionally crops up. In Rajasthan some people want division.

Narasimha Rao once said I have decided not to decide. He hoped the problem will go away. The problems remained. He lost power. If Congress thinks it can delay the matters and not to come to a decision it has to be ready to lose power.

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