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Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Hyderabad: As India celebrates the diamond jubilee of its Republic, analysts and watchers are increasingly veering to the opinion that the GOI announcement on December 9 last year to create Telangana is part of an idea that can lead to - what can be termed - as a Second Republic. Of course there is no articulation of this idea from official quarters, but in the first stage of building the Second Republic there could be creation of many new states in the country. In the second stage, there could be an overhaul of the distribution of powers between the Centre and the state. As a component of this rejig, there could also be creation of a third level of government -local self governments at the district level. These ideas set into motion, would, of course, take years to be finally implemented. On the way there will be many flip-flops- as can already be seen in the case of Telangana. Thus it will be long before a consensus is reached and the concerns of all stake holders satisfactorily answered.

But what is the raison detre for a Second Republic At a philosophical level, the life of a Republic is like that of a human being. With the passage of time it is confronted with new problems and new challenges. To face up to these new realities, the Republic - much like an individual - has to constantly reinvent itself and bring about paradigm shifts in the values that governs its existence . At a concrete level, though overall the growth and development pattern of India in the last sixty years has been satisfactory and impressive in parts, it is being felt that there are substantial regional imbalances and disparities. A significant part of Indians live below the poverty level. Also corruption has permeated Indias political life making governance an increasingly different proposition. In fact corruption has become a national security issue that threatens the integrity of the country. All this -and other reasons - has led to a have not syndrome in many parts of the country that is finding expression , among other ways, by demands for more states. At the last count, there were demands for at least 10 more new states including Telangana, Gorkhaland, Vidarbha, Bundelkhand, Mithalanchal , Harit Pradesh and Kutch-Saurashtra . The increasing dispossession of tribals in their heartland in central India is also leading to increased strength of Maoists in these areas and in large swathes of the country the writ of the government does not run. It is felt that smaller states will bring governance closer to the people.

If not the people, then for Congress party it makes good political sense to root for a Second Republic, which entails more states in the country, redistribution of powers between the Centre and the state and devolution of powers to the local level. This is because at the end of 58 years of Parliamentary democracy, the Congress party finds itself as the only national party in the country (in the real sense and not as per the definition of the Election Commission). Thats how it started in 1951, when the first elections were held as per the then new Constitution. From the late 1960 onwards there was a rise of opposition parties but with the conclusion of the 2009 election that saw the cutting down to size of the BJP (the party that came closest to the Congress in terms of influence), the grand old party is back to its position of being the sole national party in India. Along with the Congress, a galaxy of small regional parties like the BSP, DMK, AIDMK, Trinamool Congress and TDP shine on the political firmament. But the influence of these parties are confined to one single state and even the CPM -with pretensions of being a national party -is restricted to two states. At the national level, there can be a serious challenge to the Congress only if the regional parties can combine together and weld themselves into a homogeneous group. But going by past experience, the prospects for this are remote. In this situation with changes in the structure of the Republic, the Congress can lord over the Centre, almost permanently. The creation of a third tier of government at the district level - would mean devolution of power away from state governments. This will disempower regional parties and regional satraps and lead to creation of many sub-regional parties at district levels. This will strengthen the national government at the cost of the state governments also. In the long run, it could lead to a US type of government, with chief executive of the country (whatever name you may call it by - President or Prime Minister) being directly elected. But when that happens there will be a Third Republic!
On Republic Day, TRS unfurls T-flag as well
Hyderabad: Republic Day was celebrated with fervour by all political parties in the city on Tuesday. While Congress, TDP and BJP unfurled national flags at their respective party offices to celebrate the 60th Republic Day, TRS besides the national flag, also unfurled a pink flag adjacent to it with Telangana map. The Joint Action Committee on Telangana unfurled a white colour flag with black outline of the region near Indira Park, where the JAC is conducting relay hunger strike in demand of separate state.

Talking to media, JAC convener M Kodandaram justified it by saying that it should not be treated as a separate state flag. It is like another party flag and every party unfurls both the national flag and party flag, and expressed hope that they would celebrate 61st Republic Day in Telangana state. At Gandhi Bhavan, the state Congress president D Srinivas called upon party workers to sink their differences and cooperate with the state government. CM K Rosaiah also took part in the celebrations. At TDP office, it was a simple celebration since party president N Chandrababu Naidu has gone to Singapore on a private visit . The party vice-president Lal Jan Basha unfurled the national flag. The PRP president Chiranjeevi said that it was unfortunate that regional differences continue to crop up even after 60 years. He said people of all the regions should remain united and work for the overall development of the country and the state.

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