Telangana, the youngest state in India, was carved out from the northwestern parts of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. Its creation was the result of decades-long agitation, demanding statehood based on cultural and economic reasons. The politics of Telangana has been dynamic, characterized by regionalism, issues of identity, and water sharing.
Historical Background: Telangana, prior to its merger with Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh in 1956, was part of the erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad. The region has a distinct culture, dialect, and history compared to the coastal and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh. The demand for a separate state was driven by perceived neglect, underrepresentation, and economic disparities between regions.
Major Political Players:
- Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS): Founded by K. Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) in 2001, the TRS was pivotal in leading the agitation for a separate state. After the formation of Telangana, the TRS became the dominant political force, with KCR serving as the Chief Minister. The party’s popularity stems from its role in the statehood movement and its various welfare schemes.
- Indian National Congress (INC): The Congress had a strong presence in united Andhra Pradesh. It was under the Congress-led UPA government at the center that the decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh was taken. However, after the creation of Telangana, the party has struggled to position itself as a primary competitor against the TRS.
- Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): The BJP has been trying to expand its footprint in Telangana, seeing it as a potential growth area in southern India. The party supports the statehood of Telangana and has been making inroads in urban areas, especially in elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation.
- All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM): Led by Asaduddin Owaisi, the AIMIM has a stronghold in the old parts of Hyderabad city. The party has maintained cordial relations with the ruling TRS.
- Irrigation and Water Sharing: The sharing of river waters, especially the Godavari and Krishna, is a contentious issue between Telangana and neighboring states.
- Employment: The promise of jobs was a significant aspect of the Telangana movement. Fulfilling this promise remains a challenge and a major political issue.
- Regional Development: Ensuring that the benefits of development reach all parts of the state, especially the backward areas, is a recurring theme in Telangana politics.
- Cultural Identity: The preservation and promotion of Telangana’s distinct culture and dialect remain crucial for political parties.
Telangana politics is a tapestry woven with threads of regional identity, developmental aspirations, and historical grievances. As the state continues to grow and evolve, its political landscape will reflect its people’s aspirations and the dynamic interplay of regional and national forces.