Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Creation of Telangana - What went wrong!?

Telangana creation has witnessed widespread protests and violence. But, this is not the first time a bigger state is getting split. But, this is the first time a non-Hindi speaking state getting split! In the year 2000, the state of Madhya Pradesh was split to form Chattisgargh. Similarly Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar and Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh. When these new states were born, we didn’t see any violence or widespread protests. Also, the economic indicators are showing that the creation of new states has improved the economy of all the regions involved. For example, the table below shows how “Per Capita Income” has changed since the formation of new states:

Per-Capita Income 2000-01 (Rs.)
Per-Capita Income 2010-11 (Rs.)
Per-Capita Income of 2010-11 as a multiple of 2000-01
Madhya Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh

So, why Telangana is creating so much trouble? What has gone wrong? What should have been done?

Congress party won the 2004 election on the promise of Telangana. But, it didn’t do anything during the tenure of UPA-I. On 9th December 2009 Home Minister P.Chidambaram announced that, preparations would begin to carve out a separate Telangana. He said: “The process of forming the state of Telangana will be initiated. An appropriate resolution will be moved in the state assembly”. The union government created a committee to look into the formation of Telangana and kept it on backburner for a long time! Now, at a time when there are only a few months left before the elections, they are rushing to announce the formation of Telangana state. But, many of its own local leaders are against the formation of new state!
Congress was more worried about the short term political gains, instead of the progress of all the regions involved. After the sad demise of Y.S.Rajashekar Reddy, his son Jagan Mohan Reddy demanded CM’s throne. To checkmate him and undercut his political base, Congress announced the formation of Telangana! Andhra Pradesh had given maximum number of MP’s to Congress tally in 2009. If UPA has to return to power, winning Andhra Pradesh is crucial. The formation of Telangana has suddenly become important, because of this.
For the Congress at the Centre, the Cabinet decision on statehood for Telangana is a carefully calculated one — Telangana sends 17 MP’s to Lok Sabha and Seemandhra (comprising of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) sends 25 MPs to Lok Sabha. Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which is in the forefront of the Telangana agitation, is likely to win good amount of seats in Telangana. So, Congress is thinking that, after the formation of Telangana, TRS will either merge with Congress or have tie up and with that, all the MP seats of TRS will get added to Congress tally! Seemandhra leaders including sitting Congress MPs are outdoing one another staging protests to garner 25 seats! They are going with the local sentiments and again, trying to use it for political gains! Also, many politicians of Andhra Pradesh (most of them from Congress) have series of multi-Crore projects in Telangana region. They fear that, they might lose all these projects if a separate state of Telangana is formed.
The mistakes committed by Congress in the formation of Telangana can be listed as below:
Ø  Leaders of Congress are speaking in many divergent voices. It shows that Congress hasn’t done any homework before taking this major decision!
Ø  Also, Congress didn’t take any constructive measures to prepare the minds of the people of Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema to welcome this decision on Telangana?
Ø  Congress Party has sought to hide itself behind committees, reports and futile deliberations instead of courageously facing the people of Andhra Pradesh. The “nonsense” Vice President jumps in, only when he sees good opportunity!!
Ø  Neither the Congress President nor the Congress Vice President have set foot into Andhra Pradesh in recent years, despite the fact that Andhra Pradesh sent the highest MPs for the Congress both in 2004 and 2009.
Ø  Congress Party has neither been consistent nor transparent in its conduct over the creation of a Telangana state.
Ø  Hyderabad has been announced as a shared capital for next 10 years. Hyderabad is located well within Telangana. This leaves scope for operational difficulties. Thus, how practical is it for a state to have a capital that does not lie either within its boundaries or along its borders? 
The failure of the Congress leadership is apparent. Congress has completely ruined the state. The administration has collapsed, violence is going on and many youngsters went to the extent of committing suicides. Meanwhile, governance came to a standstill in Andhra Pradesh. Because of all this, the people of the two regions are looking at each other with suspicion. Statehood for one region should not be viewed as coming at the expense of another region. Miserable short-sightedness has short-circuited any possibility of an amicable split of the state. This is the reason why anger in Seemandhra is building up, resulting in economic damage and power shutdowns!!
We have reached a stage where, nobody wants to do business in Andhra Pradesh! Andhra Pradesh had started losing investments long back (even before Telangana reached the boiling point) and Telangana problem is adding fuel to the fire! Volkswagen was planning to start its Rs 3,800 Crore manufacturing plant in Hyderabad in 2006 itself. But, later it decided to have it in Chakan near Pune. Hindu Foundries moved Rs.150 Crore castings project to Tamil Nadu fearing uncertainty. With the prospect of strikes, power blackouts and political violence, even home-grown businesses are running away from Andhra Pradesh state. Lanco Infra, a Hyderabad-born company, moved its headquarters to Gurgaon!!
In June 2012, Hyderabad was rated by the World Bank (in its highly regarded Doing Business Rankings) as the second best city in India to do business in. But, today it has gone below the bottom! 

Creation of new states need wise political leadership at both centre and states. The Leadership should keep in mind the progress of all the regions involved and should not just look at mere political gains. Small states can improve governance and growth when accompanied by political stability.


Radheshyam said...

Good article about information on Congress mistakes over Telangana.

Narendra Kumar S.S said...


Thanks for reading the article and sharing your views.


Narendra Kumar S.S said...

An excellent article by M.J.Akbar: