Monday, May 26, 2014

Time to Part Ways

 The State of Andhra Pradesh held its last election as a united state along with the Lok Sabha elections, although the Election Commission was midnful enough to split the election and hold it on separate days for Telangana and the residual Andhra Pradesh. And the results are a mixed bag.

In Andhra Pradesh, the Congress has been totally wiped out, winning no seat - a huge fall from grace for a party that ruled the united state for a decade. The TDP-BJP alliance paid rich dividends to Chandrababu Naidu, who is back to running Hyderabad (albeit for a different state) after ten years in the Opposition. The alliance successfully consolidated its votes, pushing the YSRCP way behind. Jagan Mohan Reddy's party will be the Opposition party. The first important task after division of the state on June 2 will be finding a new capital - I would suggest Vijaywada as quite suitable.

In the new state of Telangana, the TRS' gamble of dumping the Congress paid off with the party winning a thin majority in the new Assembly in Hyderabad - and this time, the Hyderabad of Telangana state. The Congress did not win big as it had expected, winning just about as much as the NDA (TDP - 15, BJP - 5) here. The obvious reason is the misrule of the last five years and the lack of a local face - Rahul Gandhi loses votes wherever he goes and since YSR died, the Congress has cut all local leaders to size and is paying for it.

The new state of Telangana starts off well with a budget surplus and a strong IT and educational base, mostly around Hyderabad. However, it will be a land-locked state and a power-deficient state, which will be big challenges. To be honest, I do not have high expectations from KCR and I do not see any improvement in the state - I actually think it will be the next Jharkhand. I don't think I ever want to live in Hyderabad again.

Nonetheless, these Assembly elections mark a new beginning after a difficult split coming after half a century of agitation. Telangana dreams of prospering under its own leaders and Andhra Pradesh dreams of creating another glorious Hyderabad under the man who created the original one. Clearly, the fate of these two Telugu-speaking states will continue to be intertwined. 

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