Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Sorry for loss of lives during Telangana movement: Chidambaram

Senior Congress leader and former union minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday said that the Congress party was sorry for the loss of lives during the Telangana statehood movement.

“A suicide is an unfortunate incident. In the people’s movement some people lost their lives, we are sorry for that but you can’t make the Central government responsible for that,” he told a news conference in poll-bound Telangana. The Congress leader was responding to a query about the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leaders blaming Congress for the suicides during Telangana agitation after the government at the Centre delayed the process for creation of the state till 2014 after making the announcement in 2009.

Chidamabram, who was then the Union Home Minister, explained how the government had to work hard on the issue as there was agreement between the two sides. “Creating a state or dividing a state is not child’s play. It can’t be done just like that. A state is created after a movement like the original Andhra Pradesh was created. A state is divided in response to a people’s movement. If some lives have been lost, we are sorry for that,” he said. Chidamabaram, however, hastened to add that there were 4,000 odd suicides in Telangana under KCR’s government and asked who is responsible for it.

He remarked KCR is not particularly a good student of history and recalled how Andhra Pradesh was formed.

“A large part of what was Andhra Pradesh was part of Madras Presidency and there was a Hyderabad State. There was a massive movement for one state of the Telugu people. Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh speak Telugu. There was a massive movement for creating a Telugu-speaking state. That’s how a single Andhra Pradesh was formed, bringing together all Telugu speaking regions of this part of India. Many many years later there was another movement to divide united Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

The Congress leader recalled that he and KCR met several times during that time.

“I know what he told me and he knows what I told him. There was no agreement between MLAs or MPs of what is now Telangana and what is now Andhra Pradesh.

“It was after a great amount of work and persuasion we agreed that Telangana will be carved out and I announced it on December 9, 2009 after which Chandarsekhar Rao called off his fast. He profusely thanked us. I think he may not have forgotten but another agitation broke out. Therefore, we had to appoint the Justice Sri Krishna Commission which gave six recommendations. We tried to make both sides agree to any one recommendation, especially the fifth recommendation. They did not agree and ultimately the Congress and the government in the Centre decided to divide united Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh,” he said.

“Please ask Mr K. Chandrasekhar Rao to recall the day on which the Bill was passed in the Parliament. After the Bill was passed, what did he tell us? Let us not go into all those conversations. It was after great difficulty, tremendous amount of persuasion involving both sides that we created the state of Telangana but it was in response to a people’s movement, just as carving a Telugu speaking state was response to the public movement of 1950s,” he added.

To another query, Chidamabram stated that the Telangana movement was a people’s movement and KCR emerged as a prominent leader of that movement and that’s why he is Chief Minister today.

“The freedom movement was a people’s movement. Creation of Andhra Pradesh after Potti Sriramulu’s sacrifice was a response to people’s movement. I hope KCR is not saying people have nothing to do with it, I got Telangana. If he is saying that people will answer him in the next election. If he is saying that, it is a very unfortunate statement,” he added.



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