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Telangana division comes at a very crucial time

India approved a plan to create a 29th state with the Rajya Sabha passing the historic AP Reorganization Bill, 2013, by voice vote amid an unprecedented 10 adjournments following pandemonium on Thursday.
All that is required now for the division of Andhra Pradesh is the formality of President Pranab Mukherjee putting his seal on the bill.
The bill was pushed through by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, even as the two houses of Parliament were witness to some of the most unruliest scenes in the nation’s history. These include the pepper spraying, uprooting the presiding officers’ mics and physically assaulting Parliament officials.
The mayhem had resulted in expulsions and suspensions of Parliament members.
With the passage of the bill, supported by the principal opposition BJP, the curtains came down on the contentious issue of separate statehood for Telangana, which had seen several violent movements in the southern state in the past six decades.
The division, or demerger as some Telangana protagonists would put it, comes at a time when the country is headed for general elections in the summer with both the key players in national politics, the UPA led by the Congress and the National Democratic Alliance headed by the BJP, having a lot at stake politically.
The division expectedly has brought out doomsday predictions for the Congress in coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions, together referred to as Seemandhra, which will constitute the residuary state following the bifurcation.
It will not come as a surprise if the ruling party, which had a significant vote bank in the two regions in the past, draws a blank in the elections, with the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress sharing the spoils arising out of the Congress’ loss.
The ruling party, however, hopes to make up for its losses in Seemandhra by riding piggy-back on the hugely popular Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the party widely seen as primarily responsible for the creation of the separate state.
Though there was talk of merger of TRS with the Congress in the past, it is unlikely to happen and the ruling party can, at best, expect goodwill for granting Telangana.
The BJP, on the other hand, has been trying to position itself as both the champion of the Telangana cause — it had promised two states for one vote in the past — and the savior of Seemandhra by demanding justice, including substantial financial package for the residuary state. The opposition party, in trying to maintain its perceived balance, did give some anxious moments to the treasury benches in the Parliament by raising constitutional deficiencies in the Telangana bill.
In the end, the party gave in the firm belief that it had scored some brownie points politically.
The Congress suffered several casualties and embarrassments en route to introducing the bill in the Parliament.
The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, at the behest of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, rejected the draft bill which was sent to the House by the president seeking its opinion, raising the constitutional validity of the bill.
It also resulted in defections and resignations, including that of Kiran Reddy, couple of Union Ministers, and lawmakers from their posts as well as the party.