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Telengana is formed

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Continuing a political process towards smaller states started in the year 2000, the union government has taken a decision to create Telangana state from Andhra Pradhesh. HT reports:

How erstwhile Andhra Pradesh will be divided

Telangana, likely to be born as the 29th state of India sometime next year, will comprise 10 out of the 23 districts of united Andhra. For the first decade, Hyderabad, the capital and jewel in the crown, will be shared by Telangana and the rest of the state, which will retain the name Andhra Pradesh.

The move to create the new state comes nearly four years after then home minister P Chidambaram announced in December 2009 that Congress wanted to initiate the process; the party’s resolve wilted in the face of fierce opposition from Andhra.

But this time around, the looming general elections strengthened its spine, and support from the opposition BJP — also keen to win brownie points ahead of the polls —should ensure smooth passage through Parliament.

IT led with a political analysis of this move:

The crafty move, though belated, will help the Congress checkmate the breakaway YSR Congress led by Jaganmohan Reddy, currently in jail in a disproportionate assets case, squeeze the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) into merging with the Congress ahead of the 2014 polls, and weaken the BJP in Telangana, the only region where the saffron party is strong in undivided Andhra.

No news source gives a reason why this move could be bad for the people of the states involved, but concentrate on the electoral advantage to the Congress instead. It is certain that the BJP will not oppose this move in parliament, in order to protect its own interests in the new state. The timing of the decision favours the UPA government, and certainly local electoral calculations must have been part of the decision. However, the events of recent years indicated that the split would have to come soon.

The BBC carries an analysis which has the distance to capture this larger fact:

Rather than promoting the break-up of India, the ability of the central government to create new states has in many – though not all – cases helped to accommodate regional aspirations.

In more recent years, several new states have been created in the Hindi belt where language has not been a major issue.

In 2000, the states of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were created in regions with sizeable tribal populations, and following a decades-long movement for a tribal state in Jharkhand. The hill state of Uttarakhand was also created in the Himalayan districts of Uttar Pradesh.

Across the Hindi belt, the deepening politicisation of lower castes made it harder to hold together large states that had previously been bastions of upper-caste and class dominance.

Thus the creation of new states has been embedded in the decentralisation of political life.

The creation of Telangana has been prompted by short-term electoral manoeuvres.

But it reflects longer term histories of political decentralisation and economic change.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

July 31, 2013 at 5:25 am

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