Modi’s 100 days for Telugu States
The formation of two Telugu states was coterminous with the installation of Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Al- liance (NDA) government at the Centre. The people of residuary State of
Save for grand rhetoric of coming to rescue of both States, the Narendra Modi government has done precious little to redress their grievances. In the case of Andhra Pradesh, though it gets to enjoy power by joining the Chandrababu Naidu Cabinet, the BJP has not provided any substantial support to the State, both in terms of special category status and liberal assistance for construction of new capital. As for Telangana, BJP is antagonistic to TRS. The fact is that the BJP has little stake in both the States, and both the Union Budget and the Railway Budget focussed on the ruling party’s strongholds and the States that would go to polls soon
The formation of two Telugu states was coterminous with the installation of Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Al- liance (NDA) government at the Centre. The people of residuary State of Andhra Pradesh punished the Congress, the principal oppo- nent of BJP, for the manner in which it authored the bifurcation of the State.
The Congress party has been decimated in this State that has 25 Members in Parlia- ment. On the other hand, the peo- ple of Telangana did not reward Congress for its politics of prevar- ication and procrastination on granting the statehood. Thus the Telugu land which was primarily responsible for catapulting United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to power in 2004 and 2009 has turned into the waterloo for the Congress party.
The Telugu states have in- directly contributed to the rise of Narendra Modi as the Prime Min- ister. But, the hundred days of Modi’s rule have not just belied the expectations of the Telugu peo- ple, but have also added fuel to the fire created by unresolved contro- versies between the two States. In fact, Narendra Modi kick- started his nation-wide electoral campaign from Hyderabad when the State was still undivided. The Congress’ sudden decision to bi- furcate the State frustrated Modi’s plans for Telangana.
Meanwhile, the BJP’s electoral alliance with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) re- sulted in the whirlwind tour of Modi in the Andhra and the Ray- alaseema regions. He promised everything possible for the resid- uary Andhra Pradesh. The Presidential address to the joint session of Parliament after the new government assumed of- fice clearly assured the Centre’s generous support to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh States. But assur- ances still remain on paper. Prom- ises remain pipedreams.
The Tel- ugu people got precious little under the new dispensation at the Centre. Despite being a new State, Telangana does not have even representation in the Modi cab- inet. This raises emotional re- action in Telangana. It gives an unwanted impression to the Telangana people that the Modi government is discriminating against them. Surprisingly, Andhra Pradesh also has sev- eral unfulfilled promises though the State has representation at the Union Cabinet and BJP leaders are accommodated in Chandrababu Naidu’s Cabinet.
The proposal for granting special status and tax con- cessions to Andhra Pradesh as promised by the State Reorgani- sation Act itself still hang in a bal- ance. The Planning Commission and the National Development Council have yet to give their ap- proval. The Central government is not acting fast in securing these approvals. Now, the Planning Commission itself is scrapped. Meanwhile, the delay in this re- gard makes things more complex for Andhra Pradesh.
States like Telangana demand a similar status while neighbouring States like Tamil Nadu have started raising objections. The Government of India is yet to announce any gen- erous support for construction of an ambitious capital for the Andhra Pradesh state. The truncated State of Andhra Pradesh is under a severe fiscal stress. Chief Minister Chan- drababu Naidu attributes this to the arbitrary and haphazard division of the state.
In fact, the TDP-BJP alliance was defended on the ground that the NDA would cor- rect this mess. But Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues still want the people of Andhra Pradesh to be satisfied with empty rhetoric as the BJP has little stakes in Andhra Pradesh. A cloud of sus- picion surrounds these promises. Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Governments are finding it hard to implement their poll promises of loan waiver.
Both the States are seeking liberal assis- tance from the Centre to support their farmers who are under dis- tress, but the Centre seems to be in no mood to extend any support positively. In fact, the BJP has po- litically distanced itself from its electoral ally Telugu Desam on this poll promise. Even the Union Budget and the Railway Budget have failed to pro- vide any major allocations for both the States, except implementing some provisions of Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act.
Besides a few national institutions, Andhra Pradesh has got a smart city and industrial corridor etc. The Union Budget virtually ignored Telangana. The Railway Budget turned a blind eye to both the States, except promising to con- stitute a committee to look into their grievances. Such neglect has a political basis; the BJP has no serious stakes in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The party seems to be disinclined to strongly back Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh.
It is on a colli- sion course with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). This is precisely why the Union Budget and the Railway Budget mainly concentrated on BJP’s strongholds and the States that go to polls soon. However, the Central govern- ment has its share in the ongoing controversies between the two Tel- ugu States.
Its response has been controversial. It unilaterally adopted the Polavaram bill much to the dissatisfaction of the Telan- gana government. The Telangana government is also fuming over the Centre’s directive on the Gov- ernor’s special powers in regard to the law and order situation in Hy- derabad. The BJP rightly claims credit for carving out Telangana state. Amit shah has a grand plan for BJP in Telangana.
The party even talks of coming to power in 2019. But it’s intransigence towards Telangana is not only unacceptable but politically counter-productive for the party. The BJP is a partner in the government that rules Andhra Pradesh. It has an obliga- tion to generously support Andhra Pradesh as it was an election eve promise. But the 100 days of NDA rule have only left unpleas- ant experience for the two new Telugu States.