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By J R Janumpalli

Hyderabad: The people of Telangana had elected the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) with 63 seats out of 119 for the new State’s maiden government. The TRS government has implemented a mixed development plan of capital-intensive infrastructure with socioeconomic welfare schemes, commensurate with the objectives of the new State. For the capital investment, it undertook big projects like power, irrigation and infrastructure for their accelerated implementation, which were deliberately neglected in the united State. The State government invested heavily using its own resources and borrowings commensurate with its growing revenue and GDP. It has managed its Budget prudentially, without any additional help from the Central government. Because of its good show, the TRS won the mandate again in the 2018 Assembly elections with a massive majority of 88 seats.

In the second essay too, the TRS has continued its progressive development programme. Massive power projects, irrigation projects and city infrastructure, industrial, IT development etc, were made on a fast track. It is an outstanding performance and is duly recognised by the related national institutions. The State has improved its national economic development indices commensurate with its effort and achievements. In many macroeconomic indicators, it has climbed up to around the top 5 places in the national standings. In the united State, the position was around 15.

Some disputable political and administrative issues are there at the ground level but at the macro level, the State has acquitted itself very well. And all that was in consonance with the accelerated reconstruction plan of the new State. While the ruling TRS was engaged in the reconstruction of the new State in the right earnest, the opposition was indulging in peculiar pessimistic politics.
Congress

The Congress felt that since it has granted statehood, the power in the State was its right. But the people decided otherwise. The four-and-a-half years of heartrending dithering on the implementation of the declaration of the State formation and the loss of about 1,500 lives cost them their share in the power. But the party did not realise it. And now its role as the opposition is far from being constructive. It always opposed every move of the government in the reconstruction of the State with wild allegations. People understood it and gave it a suitable verdict in the 2018 elections too. Yet, it continued the same illogical opposition to the reconstruction of the State, giving an impression that their leaders do not have any idea of development except the obsession for the elusive power.

Bharatiya Janata Party

The BJP, the other national party, was on the fence in the formation of the Telangana State. After the BJP came to power in 2014, it did not treat Telangana with respect. It preferred Andhra Pradesh over Telangana for strange reasons. But the AP electorate did not favour it. It condescended with Telangana as long as the TRS supported its Bills in Parliament in its first term. In the second, BJP gradually become hostile to the TRS government. It has not helped the new State in any special way except with the statutory funds in both terms. It neither has the idea for the reconstruction of the State nor the intention to help it. It has denied sanction of funds on several counts despite recommendations of national institutions and in many other economic exigencies. Its winning a few MP seats in the 2019 general elections has ignited its political ambition in Telangana.

Of late, the BJP has started making many political incursions into the State, like creating by-elections and making big political raids into the State in the name of every election and occasion. It has also started to employ serious financial squeeze on the State to make it vulnerable to its political dominance. On the development front, the BJP’s performance at the national level is on the decline since 2014. In the States, particularly in its long-ruled States, the progress is not comparable with Telangana. Even its best-advertised State Gujarat is lagging behind Telangana in economic progress, now. Thus though it is trying to gatecrash into Telangana electorally, it does not promise any better economic progress than the incumbent TRS, besides lacking the requisite regional Telangana ethos.

Local Parties

Coming to the local political parties, the newly-emerged Telangana Jana Samithi party, comprising some disgruntled elements from the Telangana Udyamam, is making some political noises in the State. It does not have any particular political or economic model, except opposing the TRS and its economic development plan at every step. It is regularly hobnobbing with other parties in trying to discredit the ruling TRS. It joined hands with Andhra TDP, the arch enemy of Telangana, in 2018 to form the so-called ‘Maha Kootami’ to dethrone the TRS government. It has opposed almost every project of the TRS government and tried to create obstacles, indicating its lack of constructive thinking on the reconstruction of the State. It also follows the national parties in trying to deprecate the TRS government in all and sundry matters.

The political climate in Telangana is caught between the fast reconstruction of the State on one side and the negative political skulduggery on the other. The national parties except trying to capture the power by any means, do not have any will or stratagem of reconstruction of the State. Given the history of the State, they should have developed a meaningful regional party as a constructive opposition like in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which is perhaps good for the State. But this too did not happen. The local outfits are disgruntled for their individual aspirations. In the milieu, it appears that the national parties are no good for the forward movement of the State.

Thus, there does not appear to be a credible alternative to the TRS for the time being to take the development momentum created by it forward beyond 2023-24. Neither the national parties nor the local political outfits in the State show the necessary wherewithal or the will to do it. They sound and act too pessimistic and too self-absorbed for the task.

 

(The author is a freelance journalist)

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Author: Howard Caldwell