By T S Sudhir
They are technically next door neighbours but in the convoluted ten-year lease agreement drawn up between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu also is a non-paying guest in Telangana till June 2, 2024. His landlord, K Chandrasekhar Rao is okay with the arrangement but bristles with indignation when Naidu demands that `his’ and his brethren’s security be taken care of by the Governor and not by KCR. Naidu cites that KCR has an eye on the properties of people who hail from Andhra Pradesh and therefore Naidu does not feel safe in KCR-land.
The first CM of Telangana accuses Naidu of being a bad guest. “Definitely we will take good care of him. But he thinks he is still the CM of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh which does not exist any more. He needs to get out of his political hangover,” jabs K T Rama Rao, the IT minister of Telangana and also KCR’s son.
The Union government where Chandrababu Naidu is a partner, has sent a proposal to the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments, suggesting the setting up of a Common Police Board. This entails that the board that will consist of the commissionerates of Hyderabad and Cyberabad, will no longer listen to KCR’s orders but that of the Governor. The occupant of Raj Bhavan will also have the right to appoint and transfer any police official within the common capital jurisdiction.
Understandably KCR is upset because while the AP Reorganisation Act mentions that “the responsibility of Governor shall extend to matters such as law and order, internal security” it also states that he shall consult the Telangana ministers and then take a decision. This proposal makes it seem as if the Governor is being made the super CM of Hyderabad city. Under the constitution of India where law and order is a state subject, the Hyderabad arrangement will stick out like a sore thumb.
Only a few days ago, Naidu had written to the Centre complaining that the Telangana government was going after properties of people from Seemandhra. It was a reference to the demolition of buildings in Cyberabad area and also accusing Telugu actor Nagarjuna’s N convention of encroaching on lake area. The TDP is also upset at the manner in which two Telugu news channels – TV9 and ABN – owned by non-Telangana proprietors, have been off air for a month now because they aired content that the TRS government found objectionable.
KCR believes Naidu is trying to get back at him using the Union government as a shield. The ploy, the TRS thinks, is to weaken the Telangana government so that the TDP-BJP combine has a better electoral chance in 2019. There is already a huge sense of competition that is raging between the two states to attract investment and the elections after five years will also be a test of who fared better.
For now, KCR and Naidu are behaving less like statesmen and more like players in a bitter domestic feud. The bifurcation has done little to heal the wounds and on just about every contentious issue, the two states are like daggers drawn.
Picture abhi baaki hai.