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Infuse Good Governance:DEMAND FOR TELENGANA REVIVED? by Sreedhar, 21 December 2006 Print E-mail

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New Delhi, 21 December 2006         

Infuse Good Governance


By Sreedhar

The outcome of the byelection to the Lok Sabha from Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh last month and the victory of K. Chandrashekar Rao, the Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) President, has revived the entire debate on creating a separate Telengana State out of the existing Andhra Pradesh. One is clueless about how the result of a single byelection is producing this type of hype about Telengana. Strangely, even the Naxalites sympathizers in Andhra Pradesh have joined this chorus of separate Telengana to protect the “self respect of Telengana people”.

Some Telengana Members of Parliament and State Assembly, anticipating separate Telengana have started their schemes for jockeying positions of power. The Congress members from the region have met the Congress President during the past few weeks and tried to influence her to come out with a favourable statement about Telengana. Some of them who talked to the Press gave the impression that the Congress President is not against Telengana and will discuss it with them on December 30.   

One is not clear as yet about the actual separate Telengana sentiments in the region. The demand being made by the TRS is, on the face of it, highly emotional and has less of substance. The available empirical evidence shows that the region has not been neglected, as it is being made out to be by the TRS people. The per capita income of the region during the decade 1991- 2001 has gone up sharply. The Telengana Development Council, created in early 1970s, became dormant largely due to callousness of the elected representatives from the region. If one compares the excellent work done by Gorkhaland Development Council in Darjeeling area, the Telengana Developmental Council seems to have paid scant attention to development and squandered its funds.

In addition, a cursory glance of the funds allocated under the MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) reveals that the funds allocated to each member of Parliament and State Assembly, the performances of the elected representatives from Telengana region have done very badly as compared to their counter parts in the rest of Andhra Pradesh. In fact, even Chandrasekhara Rao has done very badly with his MPLADS funds in his constituency, Karimnagar. Therefore, the question that needs to be asked is who is to be blamed if Telengana is backward as it is being portrayed by the TRS even after 50 years of the formation of Andhra Pradesh State.

The vocal demand for separate Telengana is coming from the leadership which has failed to make its mark in the politics at the State level and at the Centre. The less we said about Telengana leaders in the State and Union Cabinet the better. Every one knows that K. Chandrasekhara Rao, as a Union Labour Minister proved to be most incompetent. Some labour leaders even called him as absentee Minister of Government of India under the UPA Government. The less we talk about the other TRS Minister, Narendra, the better. The old folks like Venkataswamy had their innings at the Centre without much contribution to the Governance of the country. The younger elements realized that they have no chance to capture power in the existing competition of political acumen.

The number of the Congress men and other well-wishers of the party calling on the Congress President demanding a separate Telengana State seem to be on an increasing trend, indicating that the issue has been re-opened. Interestingly, this phenomenon is after the byelection in Karimnagar. Is the Karimnagar byelection so significant that it requires a deep probe into the factors that led to a massive support to Chandrashekara Rao of the TRS?

The reasons for the TRS success are too obvious. First, rarely a byelection fought on emotional lines can go wrong. The TRS candidate cleverly exploited it to the hilt. Second, most of the ruling party members hoping that they will have a piece of action in the changing environment in the politics of Andhra Pradesh, worked for the TRS success. Many observers feel that the lack of discipline among the Congress men from the region is largely responsible for the overwhelming majority of the TRS candidate. Lastly, political parties like the BJP in the State suddenly joined the band wagon and created further complications. Therefore, the hype about Karimnagar election result is unwarranted.

The ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh is of the view that the issue of Telengana will be settled only by a second States re-organization commission to be constituted by the Prime Minister in the coming months. Apparently, the Congress has not comprehended fully the implications of the second SRC.

According to one account, there are more than 26 demands for creating separate States from various provinces across India. This means we will be creating an equal number of new States to the number that is in existence today. It is like opening a Pandoras box without knowing where it will lead to. For instance if there is a demand for Gorkhaland, will West Bengal Government allow such division of the State? Probably one can add similar demands from other States too. In Andhra Pradesh any division of the state would mean the present Congress Government will be voted out of power. Is the Congress President prepared for such an eventuality?

Every right thinking person in Andhra Pradesh wanted that the twin motto of any Government should be good governance, followed by development. In Telengana region, both these things are missing for a variety of reasons, including lack of competent political leadership with a foresight. The Karimnagar byelection has amply demonstrated that even though the region is not as backward as some parts of Bihar or UP, there is an urgent need to infuse good governance at the earliest and accelerate the developmental process.

Then only small town politicians of the TRS variety can be checkmated. To what extent the UPA Government at the Centre will provide these two key elements, not only in Andhra Pradesh but also in rest of India, is being keenly watched.---INFA      

 (Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

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