The cabinet has approved the creation of the state of Telangana, with Hyderabad as the joint capital. Can you talk about the significance of Hyderabad to this region?
The Andhra, Rayalaseema area closest to Hyderabad is 22o km away. For the last 400 years, Hyderabad has been the capital of Telangana or Hyderabad state. It had nothing to do with Andhra and Rayalaseema for the last 400 years. There was no relationship between these two regions. They were under the British and we were under the Nizam. Hyderabad has never been part of the British Empire and it has always been independent. So there is no question of Hyderabad not being a part of Telangana. Hyderabad is like the heart of Telangana.
Besides the emotional link that people have with Hyderabad, can you elaborate on the economic and political importance of Hyderabad vis-à-vis Telangana and the rest of Andhra?
Hyderabad is the only city which is very well developed in Andhra Pradesh and it gets around 42 percent of the Andhra revenue. Hyderabad city, as you know, has a lot of Waqf property, and this has been exploited by Andhra politicians and businessmen. They don’t want to leave this real estate business. It is just a fight between the four crore people of Telangana and 200 families of Andhra billionaires, to be precise. They are trying to keep Telangana as a problematic issue.
Keeping economics aside, what is the political future of Hyderabad? What is the future for the various political parties- like the Congress, the Telugu Desam Party, Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM, Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party – if Hyderabad remains a common capital following the formation of Telangana?
I’ll just give you a brief background of the equations in Telangana. Ninety-two percent of Telangana has people from the SC/ST, BC and minority community, and as of today, they don’t have any political say in Telangana. This has been concentrated between two families, the Reddy’s and the Kamma’s, for the last 60 years. However, both of them taken together don’t even account for 70 percent of the population of Andhra Pradesh.
When it comes to Telangana, the Reddys are 3 percent and the Velama are 0.5 percent, but they account for around 68 MLAs out of 190. There is a social engineering going on in Telangana which no one is trying to understand. There are just 26 MLAs of the BC community out of 190, whereas their population is 56 percent, so where is the political share for them? A huge churning is taking place which will turn the future of Telangana upside down. Infact, the 1000 boys who committed suicide were all from lower castes and the leadership of Telangana is all upper caste.
As far as MIM is concerned, it is controlled by one family and they don’t want to expand. Twenty MLAs of MIM could be Muslims, but they don’t want to share power with the general public. They want to share power with their own henchmen who are goons and who are land grabbers, whose job is to lend money. All these political parties – Congress, TRS, the Owaisis and the Reddys will be zeroed out of the Telangana politics in another 10 years.
Which party is going to benefit the most besides the TRS from the bifurcation of the state?
Initially the Congress and the TRS will benefit. It’s a well-known fact that the Congress has an understanding with Jaganmohan Reddy and that’s why they have released him from jail. So Jagan will benefit. The biggest sufferers would be Telegu Desam Party in both the states.
Coming back to the topic of Hyderabad, after 10 years, even if it stays with Telangana, what would be the economic impact on the rest of the regions of Seemandhra and Rayalaseema?
For the five crore people in Andhra, the present capital Hyderabad is around 900 kms and the nearest place is about 220 kms from the region. If they get their capital near their villages, it would be a huge impact, huge development would take place. Both states would have a good economic growth. Look what happened in Bihar and Jharkhand.
Andhra would require around Rs 5 lakh crores for building a new capital city. Already there is a tussle going between the Reddy’s, the Kamma’s and the Kapu’s. The Kapu’s want a capital near the east and west Godavari, the Kamma’s want it in Guntur, Vijayawada, and the Reddys want it in Ongole. Andhra is a state where the caste equations are very strong. Everyone is trying to pull the capital near their own land, so that appreciation will take place. There is a future for both the states.