Telangana: More damage than good to Congress, BJP

The creation of a separate Telangana state by bifurcating the present Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to benefit the ruling Congress party either in the state or at the centre despite all the trouble the party had gone through in getting the Telangana bill passed in Parliament as the Telugu Rashtra Samiti (TRS) led by mercurial K Chandrasekhara Rao is unlikely to fall in line and merge with the Congress.

Instead the TRS, whic d led a decade-long campaign for a separate Telangan state, is most likely to swallow the Congress in Telangana.

The process passing the bill has made Congress dysfunctional in Andhra Pradesh while wiping out the party from the emerging Telangana state, unless the TRS merges with the Congress, which is currently a distant possibility.

The gains for the BJP who have colluded with the Congress to make Telangana a reality are dependent on the post-Telangana polarisation of votes in the Seemandra region.

After 10 years of dilly-dallying, the ruling Congress and principal opposition party BJP established a close rapport on the Telangana issue, which saw the last-minute floor coordination in both Houses of Parliament and the passage of the bill despite vehement opposition from almost all other major parties.

The two rivals, engaged in a bitter Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi battle all the while, moved in unison to pass the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill in Parliament, inviting taunts of ''fixing'' and cries of ''Congress-BJP Bhai Bhai'' from the CPI (M) and others.

NDA allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal too were opposed to the passage of the bill. The BJP leadership also worked against the sentiments of some potential regional allies such as the TDP, YSR Congress, TMC and the BJD.

The BJP leadership itself seems to be working at cross purposes with the prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi engaged in a war of words with the Sonia-Rahul led Congress and the Parliamentary leadership of the party trying to make a hero out of Sonia Gandhi – leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj had gone to the extent of praising Sonia and Manmohan in the Rajya Sabha as the 15th Lok Sabha ended its last session on Friday.

Seniod BJP leaders are pitching for two gains, one moral and the other guided by realpolitik – while the party stood by its "principled commitment'' on the creation of Telangana, they expect the next government to bear the brunt of the division and the financial packages that go with it, in a way clearly stating they won't  be in power.

For BJP, the party's Andhra Pradesh unit comprises mostly leaders from Telangana, although its most prominent face from the South, Venkaiah Naidu, belongs to Seemandhra region.

The Congress has the potential to sweep the polls in 17 LS seats in Telangana, only if the Telangana Rashtra Samiti merges with it or even strikes a pre-poll electoral understanding.

However, the TRS no longer eems inclined to merge with the Congress and is currently non-committal on even entering into an alliance with the Congress at this stage.