Telangana, India’s 29th state, was formed two years ago on 2 June 2014. Massive celebrations had been earmarked across the state and was led by its first Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who unfurled the National Flag at Sanjeeviah Park that flew on the second tallest Flagstaff in the country.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leaders across the state joined in the celebrations which saw the state government releasing Rs. 30 lakh per district, for all 10 districts in the state, to organize celebrations in the form of cultural activities, food festivals, and recognition of all martyrs who laid down their lives fighting for an independent Telangana.
Criticism against extravagant celebrations
Several parts of Telangana have been witnessing severe drought for the last three years and has resulted in financially-stressed farmers committing suicide.
In wake of the current situation, the present government has been facing criticism for its extravagant celebrations at a time when farmers are facing severe drought and financial distress. But that has not deterred the state government which went ahead and used the occasion to highlight achievements of the state government in the last two years.
Long History of Struggle for Telangana
Telangana has witnessed a long struggle that dates back to 1955 when States Reorganization Commission ignored calls for keeping Hyderabad as a separate state, when Andhra Pradesh was being carved out as an independent state from what was then – Madras.
Local people of the region always maintained that their cultural identity was separate from what is today known as Andhra Pradesh, and called for a separate state of Telangana. Since language was seen as the primary criteria for state formation, Andhra Pradesh came into being in 1956, which combined Telugu-speaking areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The agitation for a separate state continued with violent agitations in 1969 and later in 1972. The movement for an independent Telangana remained subdued until 2001, when the present CM, K Chandrasekhar Rao, floated his own party Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).
With local support getting stronger, the TRS soon emerged as a strong party and succeeded in achieving an independent Telangana.
Two Years Under KCR-led TRS
Comparison with AP CM Chandrababu Naidu of Telugu Desam Party is inevitable, given that the two states are still in the process of separating the capital.
K. Chandrasekhar Rao or KCR, as he is popularly known, is not known for his administrative skills and is seen to be whimsical when it comes to dealing with people or taking important decisions.
Unlike Chandrababu Naidu, who built a formidable reputation as an able administrator and a person with strong people skills, KCR is yet to make his mark.
In some areas he has made his mark and in many others, he has failed. Let’s look at some of the positives and negatives of his last two years.
- His biggest achievement has been on the political side where he has completely decimated the opposition and has consolidated his party strength in a way that gives him absolute power to initiate any change within the state.
- When Telangana was formed two years ago, the diverse communities that lived in the region, especially in Hyderabad, were nervous about their future. Those who originally came from present day Andhra Pradesh expected a backlash to oust them from the state.
- However, no such thing happened. On the contrary, KCR went out of his way to reassure all who stayed back that the state would not indulge in any vengeful politics.
- The gesture was reciprocated by people when they helped TRS win all seats in by-elections, including the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and those in Khammam and Warangal.
- KCR has completely destroyed well-entrenched parties like Congress, TDP, YSR Congress and BJP.
Tactical domination of Hyderabad
The AP Bifurcation Act 2014, allowed Hyderabad to remain capital for both Telangana and AP for a period of 10 years, by which time AP was expected to identify and shift to its own capital.
KCR demonstrated his shrewd political acumen when he exposed the TDP-sponsored ‘cash-for-vote’ sting videos. This expose, along with political pressure on the Governor, forced Chandrababu Naidu to decide to shift his administrative team with immediate effect to the new capital – Amravati. In the process, KCR stamped his authority over Telangana.
Investors Coming to Telangana
Pre-partition AP had seen potential investors holding off further investments in Hyderabad on account of political uncertainty. With TSR now firmly in control and post-bifurcation stability established in the state, a company such as Apple has now decided to set up their largest and only development centre outside the United States, in Hyderabad.
Google, too, has taken a similar call and now other companies such as Hollywood film production company DreamWorks, E-commerce behemoth Amazon along with Taxi aggregator Uber, will soon be making Hyderabad their home.
These developments, along with the fact that 100% power is now available in the state, are all major achievements of KCR and his party.
- TRS, as a party, is built around KCR and all statements and actions of the government get attributed to the CM. This has worked against him time and again, as he has publicly made several controversial decisions only to retract them later.
- His whimsical style of functioning has been a drawback for the TRS, which has, otherwise, done a great job thus far in putting the state on a development track.
- KCR’s grand promises of delivering piped drinking water to every home in the state is another example of commitment given without much thought on how it will be achieved.
- Another tall commitment was his announcement to build one lakh 2-bedroomed apartments in Hyderabad at a cost of Rs 6.5 lakh each, and another one lakh houses within the state. Unfortunately, the government neither has the funds nor the resources to undertake such a large project.
- Another announcement made was to distribute 3-acre land to every eligible Dalit family of the state, which translated to around 1.5 lakh acres of land to be given away. The government has only managed to hand over 8,000 acres thus far.
Needless to say, there will be a backlash at some point. Till then, KCR has his time to walk the talk and make his hard-fought state one of the most progressive and developed ones in India.