The unfortunate thinking initially within the Telangana state government seems to have been to avoid it
Chief of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao should seriously and immediately end his ongoing open boycott of his political rivals to the point where his government decides to not organise the celebrations of India’s Republic Day. Even as the entire country was prepared for celebrating the Republic Day with the most popular and iconic celebrations being held in the national capital and every state organising it as per the guidelines of the ministry of defence, the unfortunate thinking initially within the Telangana state government seems to have been to avoid it.
The reason for the ongoing political confrontation between the state party, the name of which was recently changed from TRS to BRS in order to give Mr Rao a platform to express his national aspirations, and the Centre is his opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been growing rapidly and stridently in Telangana in the last few years. It is a potential challenger to the BRS in the Assembly elections slated for the end of this year.
This rivalry between the BJP and the BRS, with the saffron party threatening the pink party in Telangana and the BRS, in turn, gearing up to assert that it would challenge the Mr Modi-led BJP at the Centre, is normal in any democracy — parties oppose and fight elections against each other routinely — but Mr Rao has taken this rivalry to mean a total standoff, including the breaking of all personal ties and relationships, as well as observing a carte blanche boycott of constitutional duties, events and visits, while regularly flouting protocol.
Mr Rao has refused to visit, meet, participate in any Central event featuring or receive Prime Minister Narendra Modi for over a year. Delegating the task to a minister instead, he has ensured that, as a CM, he is totally unavailable to the PM even when he visits the state. The state has also been staying away from various events called by the Prime Minister, including CM meetings, chief secretary meetings and even party president interactions.
The customary governor’s address was cancelled on the rather facetious claim that the state Assembly has only been adjourned and hence there will not be a new session. Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has also complained of how the state does not allow her to function smoothly. Her requests for transport and security are not met with adequately and officers don’t attend meetings she calls.
There is a clear distinction between an office and the person holding it, and decorum must be maintained. Even if someone cannot get along with a person holding an office, owing to personal or political differences, they are obliged to respect the office and follow the basic charter of duties.
But if a state government has to be directed by the high court to observe the Republic Day, and even then the chief minister and his entire Cabinet boycott the function, it is highly condemnable, not to mention a letdown for all citizens.