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STATE OF AFFAIRS

The cause of Telangana was carried not on the wings of cold administrative logic, but volatile passions that have held the nation in thrall since 2009. This was when electoral calculations forced the United Progressive Alliance government to commit to Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation. With the birth of Telangana — India’s 29th state — on June 2, the country would expect these passions to be channelized into the more constructive course of state-building, given the enormous challenges that face the new state. Beyond the crown of Hyderabad, which Telangana is to share with residual Andhra Pradesh for the next 10 years, the state has a vast hinterland whose infrastructure it has to build up from scratch to make the capital viable. From re-planning its agriculture to ensuring an unhindered flow of power, the sources of which will remain in the other Andhra for some more time, Telangana will be negotiating a minefield. It goes without saying that this is the time for administrative precision, not the replay of passion. Much depends on a positive atmosphere of give and take, particularly since the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, leaves scores of unsettled issues related to the distribution of assets between the two states. Unfortunately, none of the two leaders at the helm of the administration seems keen to foster the right kind of atmosphere. While K. Chandrasekhar Rao, the chief minister of Telangana, has threatened to stop “Andhra employees” from working in his state and created a ruckus over the proposed transfer of parts of Khammam district to Seemandhra for the Polavaram project, the Telugu Desam Party in the other Andhra has warned that it will make Hyderabad’s ascension into the Telangana capital difficult.

Nothing can be gained from stoking parochial sentiments. They played their anointed part in the bifurcation drive and in the crucial elections that brought power to the two parties running the governments in the two halves of Andhra Pradesh. Both the leaders have to invest their time and energy to promoting development, employment, education and institution-building, without which they would be endangering their own political future. The bifurcation issue has run its course, and fetched returns. The issue now is development, and there are enough parties waiting it out in Andhra’s two states to seize this issue to their advantage.