Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has recently threatened of burying those who dared to insult the state and two media channels have been remained blocked in the state for allegedly telecasting programmes and publishing stories that are humiliating for the Telangana government and its public representatives.
Blaming the CM as a dictator is not right
To blame the chief minister of Telangana for the row is just uttering half of the story. Rao surely has crossed the limits by issuing open threats (he likened himself to Hitler's grandfather a few days ago) against the media for it is not an acceptable practice in a democratic political culture. But at the same time, the media also needs to play its part responsibly and stop targetting a quarter for making a political statement.
The media channels should also restrain themselves while judging a new govt
The channels, which have been at the receiving end of Rao's ire, are known to be pro-Seemandhra with an alleged tilt towards the Telugu Desam Party but that doesn't allow them to indulge in a divisive sub-regionalism and play with fire.
Derogatory attacks on legislators not welcome
Last week, one of the channels allegedly projected the newly elected Telangana legislators in an ugly taste. It said at the beginning of the assembly session, the members were provided with a rule book, a copy of the Constitution of India and an iPad.
It mocked by saying since the new members were not able to read from written documents at the swearing-in ceremony, they could do little with the iPad. It also allegedly used derogatory terms to describe the new legislators.
Another newspaper allegedly went on publishing anti-Rao and anti-Telangana Rashtra Samiti reports regularly and these provided enough reasons to the first government of Telangana to take a tough stand and meet fire with fire.
Accountability is what lacking
The problem with our political system is that there is little accountability among its constituents. Representatives the TRS made some unnecessary remarks like "I can be Hitler's grandfather" or "Telangana, like Kashmir, was not a part of India" which made a lot of quarters see it with suspicious eyes.
The critics of Rao's government also had their opinions. The government's initiative in August to carry a survey to ascertain details of the households in the state was also questioned as a step to identify the people from Seemandhra living in Telangana. The decision to make ace tennis player Sania Mirza the brand ambassador of the state also stoked a controversy with the BJP slamming the decision to honour the 'daughter-in-law of Pakistan'. It was also said that the Rao government was trying to appease the minority voters by felicitating Mirza.
Hence, no one side can be held entirely responsible for the latest controversy involving the Telangana government and the media. The KC Rao government is just not only three-month old but it is also the first government of the newly formed state. It is unfair to criticise the chief minister and his team for whatever they have or haven't done so far and particularly the personal attacks are a complete misuse of the freedom of the press.
On the other hand, Rao's claiming himself as Hitler's grandfather is also of little significance for if he is really committed to turn things around in his state, his action should speak more than his mouth. It would also be unwise for his government if they try to control the media following the controversy.
Separate statehood can't be allowed to fuel fire among people with cultural similarities
Separat statehood shouldn't be allowed to create more division among the people with cultural similarities. But that is what happening in bifurcated Andhra Pradesh at the moment. Conflict of viewpoints between the top leadership of a state and the media is not something new in India, as we have seen in the cases of Mamata Banerjee, Narendra Modi or Arvind Kejriwal. But the ongoing clash between the chief minister of Telangana and some media establishments allegedly tilted towards some camp is more deep rooted and can invite a bigger trouble in the future.