A Tale of Two States

(Ramdas)

Hyderabad, November 22: No one really imagined that the state of Telangana would become a reality. Major political parties were sympathetic to the cause but stopped short of actively encouraging its creation. Yet Congress — the ruling party at the Centre and in the state of Andhra Pradesh– by a gross miscalculation created a winner out of a horse it never backed.

Two states in the place of one thus came into being –two adversaries who have yet to come to terms with each other. On June 2, declared officially as the day Telangana was born, there was euphoria and wild celebrations all over while the mood in AP was one of dismay and disbelief.

Fed and provoked by unprincipled politicians, Telugus on both sides of the divide believed that the other side was the villain.”All speak the same language, so why this division?” cried one. “Thank God, atleast we have realised our dream,” exclaimed the other.

But where do the two Telugu-speaking states stand now? Rivalry and accusations are the order of the day. Thorny problems of personnel and material allocation, power sharing, division of scarce  financial and natural resources and more, a list that would give sleepless nights to any conscientious leader.

But there is now only a feeling of betrayal on both sides. More of finger-pointing than wrestling seriously with prickly issues. Chandrababu Naidu, CM of A.P. seems to have the edge in one respect–the BJP Government at the Centre has a soft corner for him.

Without doubt, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao has been the face of the Telangana movement and, along with Professor Kodandaram, worked ceaselessly to achieve an independent state. Now that KCR in the saddle, he is not quite able to hold on to the reins. The tragic series of farmer suicides seem to be unending; the financial situation is precarious but there is no problem about granting hefty salary increases to MLAs; the fleet of escort vehicles has been inexplicably painted white from the original black; yet another fleet has also been purchased. Even the renaming of Hyderabad Airport has turned into a tussle between Congress, TDP, and TRS.

It is high time Andhra and Telangana sit down, shed their negative baggage and come to terms. There is a great deal at stake. With empty coffers what can be achieved? But first and foremost, the tragedy of farmer deaths must be addressed.

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