Ill-advised move

The Central government’s acceptance of the demand for formation of a Telangana state has given rise to a host of problems which the governments at the Centre and in the state, political parties and even the industry and business leadership of the prosperous state will find difficult to handle in the short term. The decision was a knee-jerk reaction to the fast of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader K Chandrasekhara Rao and gave the impression that the  government had succumbed to sentimental and political blackmail. The case for the state may be legitimate because the Telangana region has suffered from neglect and underdevelopment. The demand is also very old and similar ones with less justification have been conceded in the past. But the manner in which it was done has created a turmoil on many fronts.

The resignation of over 100 MLAs, including those from the Congress, has created doubts about the survival of the state government. The political storm may ease but the credibility of the political leadership of all parties has suffered a jolt. The state’s leaders had taken an opportunistic stand on the Telangana issue, at times supporting the demand and at others opposing it. They have all been exposed now. The in-principle acceptance of the demand has to cross many hurdles like the passage of a resolution by the state assembly. Considering the present state of heightened emotions in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions this will not be easy. The status of Hyderabad, which the Telangana loyalists want to be the capital of the new state, will be a difficult issue. It will be a moot point whether the frontline metropolis can be adequately supported by a backward region and can continue with its exponential growth of the last two decades.

At the national level the government’s decision has given a boost to many other demands for separate states, like Gorkhaland, Vidarbha, Harit Pradesh, Bundelkhand and others. There has been a proposal to form a new state reorganisation commission which can study these demands and take decisions. Obviously the idea of linguistic states has suffered a setback with the break-up of many states and new criteria like development and administrative convenience coming to the fore. A decision based on such an initiative or on a consensus would have made the birth of Telangana more acceptable and peaceful.

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