Lok Satta Junction

For better governance in India.

Archive for December 2009

Taking a stance on Telangana

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Loksatta’s take on the problem of regional imbalance and its solution of decentralization is admirable. On several occasions, JP has called for genuine decentralization with devolution of powers, responsibilities, resources and personnel on the local governments. However, with the midnight announcement of the Congress high command on the statehood of Telangana, the issue is no longer about what is the best way to address regional imbalance. The primary issue now is whether the splitting of the state is acceptable, and if it is, what are the terms of such reorganization? Here is where JP’s response falls far short of an astute political response.

He made it clear that the Lok Satta is not opposed to the formation of Telangana if it is accomplished through constitutional means and in accordance with a consensus built among all the regions of the State. Similarly, the party is not opposed to keeping the State intact if the genuine aspirations of people in Telangana are addressed satisfactorily. He underlined the need once again for arriving at a consensus on the status of Hyderabad since the feelings of people in the entire State are intertwined with the capital for the last five decades.

“Above all people of all regions of the State should be disabused of the notion that creation of a separate State is a disaster or that a separate State is a panacea that will solve all problems.”

He repeatedly appealed to people to realize that the formation of a Telangana State is going to be neither a cataclysmic event for Andhra Pradesh nor a panacea for Telangana problems. “When you are carried away by primordial loyalties and emotional frenzy, everything appears to be a life and death issue.”

Now, there is nothing “wrong” with what he actually said. But there is nothing that would suggest a specific course of action either. Asking for consensus is all good and fine, but to make an impact as a political leader for the masses, JP has to take a stand one way or the other. People look for guidance from their leaders and when opportunity presents itself, an aspiring political leader like JP should use it to demonstrate his capabilities. Everyone knows he is a great intellectual and policy maker, but many are not yet convinced if he is a great political leader. JP won the minds of the people, but will he win the hearts of the people?

The following excerpt from Machiavelli’s The Prince is relevant here (via Atanu Dey):

A prince is further esteemed when he is a true friend or a true enemy, when, that is, he declares himself without reserve in favour of some one or against another. This policy is always more useful than remaining neutral. For if two neighboring powers come to blows, they are either such that if one wins, you will have to fear the victor, or else not. In either of these two cases it will be better for you to declare yourself openly and make war, because in the first case if you do not declare yourself, you will fall a prey to the victor, to the pleasure and satisfaction of the one who has been defeated, and you will have no reason nor anything to defend you and nobody to receive you. For, whoever wins will not desire friends whom he suspects and who do not help him when in trouble, and whoever loses will not receive you as you did not take up arms to venture yourself in his cause.

In the present scenario, the two sides are those for the split and those against.



Written by jujung

December 15, 2009 at 3:42 PM