Telangana finally a reality, becomes India's 29th state

It was indeed a ‘tryst with destiny’ moment for Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao when he was sworn in the first chief minister of Telangana. For the man who is popularly known as KCR in this part of the world, it marks the end of a long journey that started in 2001. In that year he rebelled against his boss N Chandrababu Naidu, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh then, and shaped his rebellion into a separate statehood movement.

KCR made his moves meticulously, distancing himself from the Telugu Desam Party when its popularity was going downhill. He resigned the post of deputy speaker of the state legislative assembly on 27 April, 2001 and formally announced the launch of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) at ‘Jaladrushyam’ on the banks of Hussain Sagar Lake the same day.

 Telangana finally a reality, becomes Indias 29th state

First Chief Minister of Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhar Rao. AFP

It took 13 long years for KCR to achieve his goal. He fought a long and chequered battle, which was thwarted by all political forces at one point in time or the other and was surreptitiously supported by the same forces when it suited the convenience of their political agenda.

KCR offered olive branch to different leaders at different times and criticized them with bell, book and candle at other times and got both bouquets and brickbats. He has blown hot and cold on the Congress, the BJP and the Telugu Desam. Agitations peaked and resistance for the bifurcation surfaced, war of words ensued, tempers frayed, emotions erupted, suicides committed, state separated, Congress decimated, new political equations sprouted and the entire soap opera culminated in a logical end. KCR has pulled out all the stops to achieve this goal.

The business tycoons who thrived in the Congress and did not want to lose their commercial stranglehold over Hyderabad have either withered politically or parked themselves elsewhere to play second fiddle to regional satraps. While the Congress was completely routed in the residual Andhra Pradesh, it remained a pale shadow of its past in Telangana with a niggardly 15 assembly seats in the 119-member House.

To cut a long story short, Telangana is now a reality. It is the 29th state of India from 00:01 hours of 2 June. The President’s Rule imposed on united Andhra Pradesh soon after the resignation of Congress Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has ceased to exist at the crack of midnight. 2 June will long be celebrated as Telangana Formation Day.

The bureaucracy worked overtime to make sure that the division of assets, liabilities, employees, projects, institutions, systems and people is glitch-free. The transition is certainly a smooth affair. The two states have two new chief secretaries and two new directors-general of police and the administrative division has almost been complete. Even the state secretariat and several government offices have been divided. Employees in most offices who would be changing floors and occupying new cubes had parting lunches on Saturday and Sunday, mostly happily but with heavy hearts on the eve of finally getting separated.

The splash of rain in the evening is treated as a welcome shower for Hyderabad which is decked up for the gala event of the swearing-in ceremony, followed by weeklong celebrations.

Yet, the animosity between KCR and his political mentor, N Chandrababu Naidu, who will be his counterpart in the neighbouring state, doesn’t seem to evaporate. Neither of them greeted each other on their victory after the elections, which were bitterly fought. KCR predicted the victory of YS Jagan, but was left disappointed. KCR and Naidu have extended congratulatory messages only through media.

KCR will have to build almost ‘gated communities’ in 120-sq yard sites for weaker sections, equate salaries of Telangana government employees on a par with the Central Government staffers, waive off farm loans up to Rs 1 lakh, implement 12 percent reservation for minorities and begin striking out one promise after the other by fulfilling them in the next five years. He has taken the people on a garden path through his election manifesto. He has already jarred on the promise of installing a Dalit Chief Minister, if Telangana is granted.

Top on his agenda would be to ensure peace and amity among people, business continuity in Hyderabad, and amicably resolving all issues with the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, despite serious political acrimony with Chandrababu Naidu.

Would KCR recall on this historic occasion the golden words of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru from his Tryst with Destiny speech: “The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us… This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion…”

Updated Date: Jun 02, 2014 08:13:27 IST