Cong keeps all doors open on Telangana

Semi Column

Can the Congress afford to further delay taking a decision on Telangana? Given its current pathetic position in the state and with everything to lose, it probably can.

Set to be the biggest loser in the 2014 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state as of now, the party believes it will gain nothing by burning its fingers over the separate state demand at this point.

That, however, could change as the polls that are a year away draw near. Should it create a Telangana then, it can hope to ride to victory by taking credit for it.

By current calculations, in 2014, the YSR Congress Party and Telugu Desam Party would do much better in the coastal and Rayalaseema districts while the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and BJP would sweep Telangana.

Should it create a Telangana state closer to the polls, the Congress could try aligning with the TRS or have the TRS merge with it and win in the new state. On the other hand, announcing Telangana now will allow the TRS and others to claim victory in their demand for a new state.

There is another reason it pays for the Congress to let the matter simmer. It allows it to also keep a door open to the YSR Congress. The party floated by Jagan Mohan Reddy backs a united Andhra Pradesh and in the numbers game, he is a bigger player in the state than the TRS. A bifurcated state would cut into the YSR Congress's vote share, which would hardly make him predisposed towards the Congress.

In jail currently, Jagan Mohan Reddy has explicitly spelt out his anti-BJP stand. Should he enter into a post-poll alliance with the Congress, the party might not even feel the need to bifurcate Andhra.

... contd.

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