Visalandhra Mahasabha plants seeds of doubt
Prasanna Mohanty | July 5, 2011
Even as the Telangana legislators put in their resignations and life in Andhra Pradesh comes to a standstill because a 48-hour bandh, both aimed at pressurising the union government to grant statehood to the region, a group of professionals claiming to draw inspiration from the Andhra Mahasabha - which planted the idea of a linguistic state that led to formation of today’s Andhra Pradesh – has launched a counter offensive.
United under the banner of Visalandhra Mahasabha, this group is holding a two-day workshop in New Delhi to highlight pitfalls of dividing the state.
Economist and secretary of Visalandhra Mahasabha, Parakala Prabhakar, provides facts and figures about the development indices of all the three regions of Andhra Pradesh – Coastal Andhra, Rayalseema and Telangana – to argue that there is little basis to say that Telangana is discriminated against or is neglected. On the contrary, Telangana has witnessed rapid growth after 1956 when all the three regions united to form Andhra Pradesh in terms of education, health facilities, irrigation, power consumption and even per capita income, he asserts. Going by these indices, Rayalseema appears to be the one falling behind.
The demand for statehood has little to do with economic, political or cultural regions. It is aimed more at political end, Prabhakar says.
The idea of a united Andhra Pradesh finds support of veteran journalists Kuldip Nayar and Sanjaya Baru too. Nayar says the demand for statehood is political in nature and reflects a sense of alienation which could be solved through various political and administrative decisions, while warning that conceding the demand will not only open a pandora’s box, it would endanger unity of the country too.
Baru advises to focus on the “strength of unity”, rather than the “weakness of division” to drive home the point that dividing the Godavari and Krishna basins will weaken the state and harm the cause of the Telugu-speaking people.
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