By Sujai Karampuri
1. It has become evident by now that Samaikyandhra Movement has clear agenda – to stop the formation of Telangana – not because it has love or affection for Telangana, but to make sure Seemandhras don’t lose Hyderabad.
2. If Telangana is to be formed, they want to make sure Hyderabad remains with Seemandhra, if not in short term, but in the long term.
3. The key step in that direction, of keeping Hyderabad for Seemandhras, is the common capital.
4. We have only seen only two methods followed when creating states. One, creation of successor states with their own capital cities without any territory in joint ownership. Two, creation of successor states with common administrative zones with the only example of Chandigarh, which was created as union territory to serve as joint-capital for Punjab and Haryana.
5. There are many peculiarities unique to Chandigarh:
a. It is one of the very few planned cities in India. The administrators choose a piece of land and decided to build a city there. Most other cities of Independent India have had long cultural and geographical histories.
b. Chandigarh is geographically right on the border for both Punjab and Haryana.
c. Chandigarh started off as temporary joint-capital for Punjab and Haryana. After ten years it was decided to be given to Punjab, but that never happened.
d. Chandigarh remains stagnant, and shows no promise of growth. Chandigarh does not rank anywhere close to a growing city. Whereas cities like Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad attract industry and employment and swell in population.
e. Chandigarh is ruled by a Lieutenant General appointed by President. He is not an elected representative. Therefore the electoral democracy which we value so much in our country is missing in that city. Many local leaders of Chandigarh bemoan their current condition. They demand that they should forgo their union territory status to become a regular city as part of one of the states.
f. It is a common trend in India for union territories to become states, not the reverse. Even New Delhi started out as Union Territory to become a state.
6. Chandigarh is not the best example for Hyderabad. Hyderabad does not share a border with Seemandhra.
7. Making a city with rich and historical democratic experience of electing MLAs, MPs and councilors, into a union territory is a retrograde step if we were to strip off these democratic institutions keeping such a large population under a Lieutenant General.
8. Another model that is being suggested is that of New Delhi, where the authority on law & order and land is held by Union Government. Such an arrangement could suit New Delhi because it happens to be the capital city of entire country, but not for Hyderabad. No similar arrangement has ever been mooted for individual states so far.
9. No state so far has allowed the Union Government to take over law & order within its borders.
a. Implicit in agreeing to give away the authority of law & order to Union Government is that the new state is not a responsible state that can protect its citizens.
b. Implicit in this agreement is that the new state will be discriminatory and unfair. Such an accusation even before the state is formed is quite demeaning and insulting. It shows that while all other states, from Nagaland to Jharkhand are seen as responsible states, the new state of Telangana is being treated as immature and a rogue state.
c. Telangana will the first such state in India where it is not entrusted with the responsibility of securing security and protection to all the citizens living within its borders. Even when riots broke down in Mumbai against Tamils or Biharis, the Union Government did not take away the responsibility of law & order from Maharasthra. The same is true with Bangalore even Tamil or North East population were targeted. So, why is Telangana an exception?
d. Every effort has to be made to completely reject this idea.
10. No state so far has allowed the Union Government to take over the administration of land.
a. Is it not clear that this is another attempt of Seemandhras to make sure their illegal grabbing continues even after formation of Telangana?
b. So, why should Telangana accept it?
11. Accepting a common capital for a city like Hyderabad does not make any sense. It has no precedent in the history of India.
12. Seemandhras have to start working out of their capital city from day one after the formation of Telangana. Some people ask how that is possible. Well, it was possible for nearly 16 states so far.
a. Whenever states were bifurcated, the states which did not have the erstwhile capital city converted an existing city into a capital city.
b. Jharkhand started functioning out of Ranchi, Chhattisgarh out of Raipur, Kerala out Trivandrum, and Andhra State operated out of Kurnool.
c. Not all capital cities have to metropolitan and cosmopolitan cities. There are only few metropolitan cities in this country while there are many more states. Obviously not all states will get a metropolitan city in their geography.
d. Right now Seemandhras already have many cities in their region which can be used as a capital city.
e. Vijayawada, Guntur, Vizag, Tirupathi, etc., are not very different from Bhubaneswar or Bhopal or Guwahati.
13. Telanganas should not accept common capital, not even for a single minute. Accepting it could become another Gentlemen’s Agreement, a noose around their neck. We may end up losing Hyderabad in the long run.
14. In the worst case scenario, if we have to live with common capital for ten years, then we should make sure that ten districts along with all their constituencies are defined as part of Telangana without sharing any of its constituencies with Seemandhras.
a. We have to make sure Seemandhra does not have claim even on a single constituency that belongs to Telangana.
b. We should allow Seemandhras to operate the facilities and capital infrastructure only. That is only limited to Saifabad mandal.
c. We cannot give them power or jurisdiction over revenue, land, or law & order.
d. Seemandhras cannot have any role or representation in GHMC or HMDA.