Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Division of states

As India prepares for one more state in form of Telengana, there are voices of dissent about how India is getting broken into states and how dangerous it is for the country's unity having seen the lingustic jingoism in various states. While one can agree with this to some extent, there is no black and white when it comes to division of states.

To start with, the initial division of states was faulty since it was done only on lingustic grounds. That itself sowed the seeds of division. And who else but the 'great' Nehru to blame for this mistake in his already huge list of mistakes. No one can deny that a country as vast and populated as India needs smaller states for better administration. US for example with half the population of India has 51 states and so there is nothing wrong in having smaller states for better administration.

If one looks at the last 3 states formed out of bigger states during Vajpayee rule - Jharkhand, Chattishgarh, Uttarakhand, one can how they have performed better as seperate states and even better than the original states they were carved out from. So this also proves that neglect does lead to smaller states and once seperate they can become viable states as well. And they have not been formed on basis of language.

Most of the times, demand for a seperate states stems from decades of neglect. Uttarakhand was long neglected in UP and so the demand. Same is with the demand for seperate Vidarbha state in Maharashtra. In Telengana's case, while Telengana region acocunted for more than 50% population of the state, they were given only 40% representation in the state assemby. Their share of development fund was even lower since the leaders concentrated on the larger pie. This situation can be changed or saved only by having an administration which divides the development pie equally amongst the regions. This has been successfully proven in Gujarat where one used to hear cases for Kutch state. But in last few years, those have died down because the development was taken to those who so far were neglected.

Finally to the dirty politics played in Telengana case which lead to the situation becoming so volatile. Congress has played with the emotions of people in Telengana for long. To start with they merged the first Telengana party and agreed to its terms and made Chenna Reddy the CM of AP in 70s. But they did not nothing about the seperate state for years. In 2004, they got into an alliance with TRS on promise of seperate Telengana state but put it in cold storage after that only to bring it up again during no-confidence motion last year to save the government. Again they played the Telengana card during this year's assembly and general elections. But again put the demand in cold storage. This led to the violent reaction this time. More than 30 people have lost their lives over the politics played by the Congress and it was so distasteful to hear their MP Hanumantha Rao say on CNN IBN this morning how Telengana people should thank Sonia Gandhi for giving them a piece of pie like a mother as if India was an Italian Pizza to be divided.

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