Telangana: Why Shinde's words on no more states mean nothing

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What Shinde's words on more states mean
Bangalore, Oct 8: Sushilkumar Shinde looks more a fire services minister now than one who is in charge of the home ministry. The man said a day after the cabinet formally cleared statehood for Telangana that no more demands of separate states will be considered after this.

Perhaps, the massive reaction over the formation of Telangana has rattled Shinde and he is found hoping against hope that the fire will be doused before it causes more harm and everything will fall in place soon.

But how much reliable are Shinde's words now after his government failed to ensure that the formation of the new state go through a smooth transition?

The UPA's Telangana plan was aimed at reaping electoral benefits but proved to be counter-productive when regional opponents also used the same coin to pay it back. The Congress eyed to pocket the votes from Telangana by dividing Andhra and now the TDP and YSR Congress are playing the same trick by cashing on the anti-Telangana sentiments. The results have been horrendous for the common people of the state. Nobody knows what lies ahead.

In this situation, the home minister's assurance looks hollow for his government surrendered to the old demand of Telangana for electoral gains if not for a democratic reasoning. It has led to indirect consequences in other states, particularly in Assam and West Bengal, where demands for separate states have raised a big worry for the respective state administrations.

If Shinde is indeed convinced that no new states should be formed hereafter, why is the Centre holding talks with representatives from Assam on demands of separate states? Northeast is one region where no government will risk creation of new states but yet talks are being held before the Telangana fire is extinguished. Does Shinde prefer dousing a deadly fire more than preventing it?

The Centre has also erred in dealing with the anti-Telangana protesters the same way it had dealt with the pro-Telangana agitation. For once it assured that Telangana will be formed, there was a need to back the move with political management, which was not the case. The top leaders of the UPA needed to approach those closer to the ground through the local political leadership and assure them over the consequences.

Instead, local political representatives have declared a revolt and physical force has been deployed to quell the protests. Shinde's assurance reflects his doubts on his ministry and the government about handling popular issues. As far as the task of forming more states is concerned, it is not an option for a minister but the pressing demands of time. Shinde's government tried to play with fire by cashing in on a movement involving popular sentiments. His assurance will make more sense if he vows to dissociate his government from such deadly acts.

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