Why Telangana does not justify Gorkhaland and Bodoland
Delhi: A day after the Congress Working Committee acceded to the demand to divide Andhra Pradesh, experts say that Telangana is a unique case and does not offer justification for others seeking a separate state.
Following the Telangana decision on Tuesday, politicians like Mayawatiand groups like the Bodoland People’s Front and the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) have revived their demand for separate states. WhileMayawati has said that Uttar Pradesh should be split into four smaller states, Hagrama Mohilary of the Bodoland People’s Front met withhome minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, intensifying their demand for Bodoland. The GJM has also called for a 72-hour ‘bandh’ in Darjeeling.
Prof. DL Sheth, Honorary Senior Fellow and former Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi said that the creation of Telangana was bound to have “wide ramifications and add to instability in the country” for the way it has happened.
“The state per se will be viable economically and also for administrative process. But, I’m against the way in which it has happened — for narrow political calculus reasons,” Sheth said. “This will certainly open more doors to increased demands for many more states.”
“However, each demand has to be dealt with its own merit,” said KG Suresh, senior fellow and editor at Vivekanand International Foundation, a Delhi-based think-tank. “Just because we have created Telangana, doesn’t mean that everyone demanding a state should get one. Politicians wanting a state for their own motivations, should not be entertained.”
Both Suresh and Sheth support the creation of smaller states but urge caution in recognising such claims.
“I understand decentralization where we much have small viable states, but this is not a good way to do it. The formation of states has to be seen on each one’s merit, a second reorganization commission should be formed to look into this issue and there must be various consultations and discussions by the government before any state is formed,” Sheth told Firstpost.
Suresh argues that Telangana’s claim to statehood was strong for several unique reasons. For one, Telangana was on its own before being merged with Andhra Pradesh in 1956. The decision to grant it statehood is not a bifurcation or the carving of a new state, “it is a demerger”, said Suresh. Moreover, the demand for statehood enjoyed strong grassroots support and not just politicians with ulterior motives.
“When Telangana was merged with the state of Andhra in 1956 to form Andhra Pradesh, specific provisions and allocations were given to Telangana. But these provisions got diluted over the years and the people there got disenchanted,” he said, adding, “Over 75 percent of the revenue of the state came from Hyderabad originally part of Telangana, yet, only 1/3 was spent on Telangana. Even in government employment people from Telangana were far and few.”
“This is a mass level movement and so to that extent the demand for Telangana is justified,” Suresh said.
Other claims to statehood may be popular, but they are not as strong for other reasons.
“As far as Gorkhaland is concerned, we cannot give in to the demands of everyone without assessing the fallout of it. Ok, a group of Nepalese immigrants have settled in an Indian region over generations and they have now start demanding a separate state. But by that logic, tomorrow Bangladeshis in Assam will begin doing the same. So we have to look at each case and not open a pandora’s box in dealing with this issue,” Suresh. said
He is also sceptical about Mayawati’s proposal to divide Uttar Pradesh. “Mayawati for her own convenience has asked for splitting the state. These kinds of demands don’t have a legacy of problems, its only for the politician’s convenience,” Suresh said. “Sardar Patel worked very hard to integrate India, we cannot go back to splitting it into 500 provinces,” he said.