Telangana Byelection – Is Voter Demanding Performance జూన్ 6, 2008Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Articles, elections, politics, Telangana.
TRS trips and falls
Tuesday, June 03, 2008 at 2222 hrs The Indian Express
The Andhra by-election boomerangs on the party that caused it
The Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) is left dazed and confused by its staggeringly subpar performance in the Andhra by polls, and understandably so. These elections were supposed to be a referendum on the Telangana statehood issue, announced after the TRS pulled out its MPs and MLAs, claiming that the UPA and YRS government in Andhra Pradesh were insufficiently committed to the Telangana cause they had promised to support in 2004. When he promised to settle the matter in “the people’s court”, TRS leader Chandrasekhar Rao certainly didn’t expect this tremendous whack — only last year he had resigned and been re-elected by a large margin of over 200,000 votes. This time, he managed a meagre 15,000, and the TRS lost five of its Assembly seats to the Congress and four to the TDP.
So as it turns out, maybe the elections were a referendum on political drama and instability. The TRS has proved to be a volatile partner, sparring with the UPA and withdrawing support at key moments. Perhaps this result signals the voters’ impatience with a party with a perpetual attention problem, one that periodically plunges the state into uncertainty just to display its own muscle. The Telangana region has been historically held back by social and economic under- development, and the Telangana protest is not just a simple insistence on its own address but also a demand for developmental redress. So the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which promised to tackle specific deliverables like unemployment, drinking water and power supply issues, struck the right chords while the TRS’s grand blueprint for a separate Telangana was left in tatters, at least for the time being.
So what’s the moral of the story? If anything, it is the fact that the Indian voter cannot be gulled by identity politics much longer, unless backed by a positive development agenda. Manifestoes and vague promises of a coming utopia just don’t cut it, without a measurable governance record. Many states have seen a winnowing out of the weaker players, as voters overwhelmingly cast their lot with parties and coalitions that promised stability and a concrete plan. The TRS would do well to realise that temperamental and confrontational politics can only get it so far — from now on, it needs a more grown-up vision for change.