K Chandrasekhar Rao

There is an old saying that people should show grace after victory. It’s touted to be the gentlemanly thing to do. The TRS chief KCR Rao, though, clearly doesn’t believe in giving his “enemy” an iota of space. His latest rhetoric regarding not allowing Seemandhra citizens to work in Telengana is certainly an indication of that.

Andhra Pradesh is yet to be formally divided into two states. The 29th state of the republic, Telengana will be carved out of Andhra on June 2nd. But even before that, the political temperatures are rising, thanks to the diatribe of soon to be CM of the new state. He has virtually issued a threat that no Seemandhra citizen, i.e., “Andhra-domicile” employee will be allowed to work in Telengana after he assumes office. This move is seen to placate his core constituency that only locals will get priority in government jobs. He has even said that if Seemandhra citizens manage to get posting in Telengana, they should be ready to face dire consequences of hostile transfers.

It seems that the bad blood which started during the days of struggle for the new state has spilled on to the “happier times” too. It is not for the first time that states have got bifurcated. Some teething problems have always occurred in the beginning but they got sorted out soon. This division of Andhra, though, is likely to be much more acrimonious and has potential to test the leadership skills of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the very beginning of his tenure.

Many believe that the poor political handling of the demand for separate state by the UPA leadership has only compounded the problem. Thus, reconciliation is still a far-off dream; even peaceful co-existence will be a daunting challenge. Also, there is a belief that KCR is upping the ante so as to ensure Telengana gets its deserved share of help from the Central Government. KCR gambled opting to be on the side of the UPA and is probably feeling a bit left out, particularly with both the two main parties of Seemandhra supporting the Modi government in the Centre.

To prove that his threats are not merely posturing, KCR has set up a “war room” of TRS workers. A team led by Telengana non-Gazetted Officers Association Chairman G .Devi Prasad will carefully look into the distribution of staff and allotment of cadre. The team’s primary goal apparently is to check that no Seemandhra citizen can work in Telengana by faking domicile certificate. A database of workers is being built and inputs are being taken from Telengana employees about probable “offenders”.

KCR’s logic is pretty simple. It is that Telengana citizens should work in Telengana, and those from Seemandhra have to work in their own state. But the problem lies in fine print. Hyderabad is supposed to act as capital of both the states for the next 10 years. If Hyderabad becomes an exclusive fiefdom of Telengana citizens then how will the government of Seemandhra operate? There is a fear that pretty quickly this tirade against Seemandhra citizens can also spread to private sectors where companies may be coaxed to hire only locals. A lot of people of the so called “Andhra domicile” have spent their lives in Hyderabad with well entrenched family roots. Their lives shouldn’t be taken for a ride due to the whims of politicians.

Narendra Modi, on a priority basis, should sit with the warring political parties. The Centre should come out with a very clear action plan, thus mitigating fear among the citizens. Whether KCR’s demand is constitutional or not should also be clarified. For the sake of common folks, sanity should prevail!