DOUBLED SALARY BONANZA AMIDST 400 FARM SUICIDES: WAS THE TELANGANA FIGHT FOR IT?

“I myself will represent the Telangana government and argue before the Krishna tribunal. I will create a history by arguing the case in my capacity as CM.” – K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Chief Minister, Telangana

Now, this statement could have been seen as a routine overstatement coming from a politician who likes to boast and likes to brand himself as a forerunner of his political breed.

But, no, this comes to us from K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), the Telangana chief minister, the top most administrative functionary of India’s newest state, who has been a big letdown after assuming the office when Telangana came into existence officially on June 2 this year.

The central reason behind the decades old Telangana struggle was the contention that the Andhra counterparts had ignored the Telangana areas totally leaving the concerned population in poverty and backwardness.

KCR projected himself as the champion of the cause and though he cannot take the sole credit, going by the political equations of the time, he was rewarded by the Telangana electorate in hopes he would bring home the change. But the downward spiral began from the day-1.

As soon as he took over, the dynast in him came out. He is chief minister who made his son and nephew ministers. His daughter is a member of the Parliament (MP). And he defends and justifies it with an ‘air’.

When the agenda should have been reconciliation and synthesis till the whole process of bifurcation of revenue and resources is complete, he chose to indulge in cheap politics of sloganeering, not delivering on ground, and finding an easy escape in anti-Andhra Pradesh slogans.

And rational minds know that is not going to work.

But, the latest KCR move shows that was never his priority probably. The latest move is certainly a prime issue of national outrage that could not find its due on airwaves as other major rating-worthy stories broke out simultaneously, dominated by the round the clock developments around the controversial Haryana godman Rampal who refused to accept the orders of different courts including the high court and his arrest came after violent clashes and a long drama.

Anyway, that is a typical Indian flavour where fake religious gurus have been exploiting the insecurities of human lives in a country where universal norms of a dignified life do not come even in dreams of the majority of the population.

And Indian politicians are not much different, the political history of independent India tells us, and KCR’s latest move reaffirms that.

In an outrageous and anti-human move, the Telangana politicians, led by KCR, came together to hike their salary by 100%. Now the salary of a Telangana MLA (Rs. 2 Lakh) would be more than that of the President (1.5 Lakh) and the Prime Minister (1.60 Lakh). While doing so, the atmosphere was of almost consensus, something that we have seen so many times in ‘doing so’, including in the Indian Parliament. The bitter TRS-TDP war of words or the Congress or the BJP voices – we could not hear them.

The doubled salary bonanza came at a time where the state is facing aftermath of drought.

Different reports say, the authenticity of which we can safely accept, that around 400 farmers have committed suicide in Telangana after KCR took over in June. 350-400 farm suicides is the range of such reports and the government attempt to put them at around 80 easily blows out when we read the reports.

The burden of the hike that the state will face (Rs. 75 crore in five years) could have easily saved the lives of these farmers had they been given the loan waivers or financial assistance in time.

But that would have happened only when the people would be the priority. The brazen defence of the salary hike by the Telangana government and KCR tells us they don’t care at all.

KCR may blame Andhra Pradesh and Chandrababu Naidu for Telangana farm suicides but that would not stop the farm suicides.

KCR’s efforts to justify the MLA salary hike and deflect the blame to Chandrababu Naidu – amidst 400 farm suicides – was the Telangana fight for it?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THREATENING TV CHANNELS: KCR & FAMILY – A DYNAST AND A DYNASTY IN MAKING

Three different states were created in 2000. Two have been failed by their politicians. Another new state has been created this year and the way it is heading, it looks to join the league of Uttarakhand and Jharkhand in the years to come.

The sad story and the sad story ahead – it’s all about the political leadership and the Telangana baton has slipped to the hands of a dynast it seems. He is reaping much more than what he sowed, when by the spirit of democracy – that should never be the case – something that has seldom been the case in India.

He is the chief minister. His son is minister. His nephew is minister. His daughter is a member of the Parliament (MP). And he defends it. And he justifies it.

All in the name of democracy and threaten to bury the voices, the media voices who, in his interpretation, insult Telangana.

And he vociferously goes undemocratic in doing so, assuming the role of courts and other watchdog agencies in deciding and acting on culpability, the traits of a political dynast, who always sees himself above the people who are the real currency of his authority.

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TELANGANA IS IN: BUT BEGINS ON A WRONG POLITICAL NOTE, WITH CROWNING A POLITICAL DYNASTY

Finally, on June 2, Telangana, the 29th state of the Indian Union, came into existence. For the Telangana people, the achievement to have their own home state came after decades of struggle and they deserved the celebrations that begun as the clock hit the midnight point on the night of June 1-June 2.

Sharing the wealth of the Information Technology hub of Hyderabad with the parent Andhra Pradesh (or for that matter Seemandhra, if the state is renamed), the new state can start building and rebuilding on what is available (with the expected help from the Centre, what a state’s reorganization deserves), to undo what they have been claiming – the injustice done to the Telangana people by their Andhra counterparts.

After 2000, when India got three new states in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal (now Uttarakhand), it is now the turn of Telangana and the obvious parallels will be drawn, on social and economic growth indicators.

And we don’t need to do data crunching to come to the conclusion that it has been a mixed result.

Chhattisgarh has performed well as it could get a good administrator in the chief minister Raman Singh. How questionable is the Uttarakhand experiment the Himalayan floods of June 2013 tell us. Take a drive from Dehradun to Haridwar and you won’t find even a single street-light on the highway outside the city limits. This is when the state is claimed to be a power surplus state. And we can say the Jharkhand experiment has failed to score any significant positive talking point so far. Political instability and questionable leadership in Uttarakhand and Jharkhand are to share the blame.

And the Telangana birth would be assessed on the scale of development and change with the ‘so far’ outcome of these three states.

And as we saw in the case of Chhattisgarh and other two states, lot depends on the political dispensation and the person at the top of it.

And though we need to wait to comment on how the first Telangana government is going to be on the performance scale, unfortunately, it has begun on a wrong note.

With Telangana, yet another political dynasty has taken birth in India.

KCR (or K Chandrashekar Rao), the first CM of the state, who claims the Telangana fight as his own with his political outfit TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) has made his son and nephew ministers in the first Telangana cabinet. Only his daughter is left out and we should not be surprised if she is taken in the Cabinet expansion when it happens.

We can say it a royal coronation indeed – millions fought for decades, many lost lives – to crown a family – to come to this – to handover the reins of the state to a family and not to a person – the curse of India’s electoral democracy continues.

Let’s see how this curse plays out in Telangana. The time will tell if the coronation was earned or the crown was imposed.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/