The Revanth Reddy govt now needs to urgently assure the urban population of its passion & commitment towards urban development
One of the most hated features of the past government in Telangana must surely have been the steel barricades and metallic scaffolding that converted the chief minister’s residence, ostensibly called Pragati Bhavan, into a fortress, located as it is in the middle of the city. It occupied not only the entire footpath but also a significant part of the busy road. The building was fortified against any potential entry by not only ordinary folk, but also most people who might want to interact with the head of the state government.
In the Bharat Rashtra Samithi government under former CM K. Chandrashekar Rao, ordinary people, the media, civil society, members of the Opposition and even ruling party MLAs were treated as potential intruders. On Thursday, even before the new Congress government under chief minister A. Revanth Reddy took the oath, municipal officers broke down the barricades and freed up access to the seat of power for the common man and woman.
Citizens celebrated the symbolic act of change, a concrete development for those who walk, ride or drive along the busy road, as a moment of victory for democracy against an arrogant government of the past. The newly-built state secretariat too, where until a week ago the security personnel would not mind using force to stop anyone except the topmost from entering, threw open the doors of the head office of the state government’s headquarters.
Change, which was the electoral slogan of the Congress Party, resonated deeply with the people of Telangana who wanted a break from the autocratic, corrupt and dynastic government of the past. Change has arrived in the state, and the early symbols show the Congress under chief minister Revanth Reddy desiring to transform the government from being one belonging to the new aristocracy to one that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people.
But when change wins, hope peaks and expectations rise. The new Congress state government has an extraordinary set of challenges ahead, with humongous responsibility. When the Congress, as part of the UPA-2, resolved to create a separate Telangana and the state finally came to being, it was a budget-surplus state.
Financially, the Congress handed over a very rich new state to the BRS which formed the first government. The BRS is returning a debt-ridden state back to the Congress after two terms. The Congress won the popular mandate riding on six guarantees and several other promises in its manifesto, all of which together will make a huge dent to the exchequer.
The Congress Party won 64 seats out of 119 Assembly segments (its ally, the CPI, won a seat), but the party could not win the confidence of the people of Hyderabad, which was more or less swept by the BRS-MIM.
The Revanth Reddy government now needs to urgently assure the urban population of its ability, willingness, keenness, passion and commitment towards making the urban development agenda a high priority and keeping economic growth as a significant one.
Against odds, the Congress won and Revanth Reddy took over as chief minister of Telangana. Now they must protect the mandate, ensure political stability and deliver a government which keeps its promises but also ensures the growth of the state. If its early actions in the first few hours are a signal, it can and it will.