Telugu Desam supremo N Chandrababu Naidu's sudden shift on the issue of statehood for Telangana smacks of political opportunism. After 25 years of striving for a united Andhra Pradesh, he has finally torn apart NTR's last legacy: unity.
This is not surprising though. Over the last few years, the former Chief Minister of AP has been making several U-turns of key issues. None greater that abandoning free market capitalism, of which he was the torchbearer. That explains how the man who called himself the 'CEO of Andhra Pradesh' and tried to squander Rs. 1 crore to build an F1 track, could mingle with poor farmers and communists, blasting the YSR Reddy government for so-called negligence.
The truth is out there for the citizenry to see: with a slew of desertions (most notably that of Devendra Goud), a government that is not facing much anti-incumbency and has kept most of its promises, a one-day-wonder of a UNPA and an acute lack of allies, the TDP was pushed to the wall, facing the daunting chances of humiliating defeat in 2009. And that's what prompted the politburo to reverse its historic stand, not 'the people's sentiments, especially those of the Telanagan region' as Naidu said.
While the YSR Reddy government deserves applaud for its approach to development, and also criticism for a host of issues, the truth is that, except in Hyderabad, the TDP did nothing great for the rest of AP. Dividing it would be the final nail in the coffin.
A note of caution to the TRS, NTPP and other like-minded parties: Naidu is not someone you can trust. If he comes to power, there is a very good chance that he will backtrack on his decision. If you really want a separate state, you will have to forge alliances at the Centre, not the state. And the Congress and BJP are the only options as of now. No, Mr. KCR, Mayawati cannot do it for you.
(This is the first in a two-part series looking into dividing the Union further: whether it creates more unity or erects more walls. Kep reading the IN09 label to find out more. Also, be prepared for elections in Andhra Pradesh, also scheduled for 2009.)