Ratan Tata has unveiled the world’s cheapest car at the Ninth Auto Expo – the Nano. With a price tag of Rs 1 Lakh the media hype has already subsidised marketing costs for the Tatas, nevertheless this post is not about the small car, it is about smaller states. The Manmohan UPA Government has been blowing and hot cold for sometime now on the issue of smaller states with talk of a 2nd States Re-organization Commission, SRC doing the rounds once again. Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh has spoken out in favour of further splitting the state.

Offstumped has always been in favor of smaller states with the premise that they make for better delivery of public services, greater accountability and greater opportunities and access to opportunities. The experience of the recently created states by the BJP lead NDA however has been mixed. While Uttarakhand has seen a stable two party political system  with a focus on governance, Jharkhand has brought out the worst in our Parliamentary democracy. Chattisgarh though producing a stable polity has been at the receiving end of the naxalite menace.

With Goa consistently producing split verdicts and legislative instability some have questioned the wisdom of creating smaller states.

But this is a disingenuous argument. If one traces the root cause for instability in Jharkhand and Goa it has more to do with the Congress’ shameful track record in respecting State’s rights and its utter lack of commitment to federalism.

Offstumped has in the past come out strongly in favor of Telangana, Vidarbha and a trifurcation of Uttar Pradesh.

Some excerpts from previous posts

Telangana

A separate state of Telangana holds the potential for delivering on all of the above to provide the people of Telangana that much needed boost and confidence to realize their dreams and to eliminate the despair that has been exploited by Naxalism. Predictably there have been violent protests and considerable consternation within the rest of Andhra Pradesh on this issue. Specifically around the status of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad if such a division were to occur. An important factor to be considered here for Andhra Pradesh is that a separate state of Telangana holds the promise for development and uplift of Tier 2 cities in both the Andhra and Telangana regions. The practice of concentrating the business and political capitals in the same cities has resulted in lop-sided development of Tier 2 urban centers through out India. Taking a leaf from the United States if Andhra and Telangana were to set an example by choosing Tier 2 cities like Vijayawada and Warangal as respective political capitals it would not just boost economic development in these cities but would completely neutralize the Hyderabad debate. Hyderabad could become a Union Territory like Chandigarh with equal access to Andhra and Telangana

Trifurcation of Uttar Pradesh

A trifurcation of UP could be in the Congress’ interests as well holding out new hopes of a renewal.  Smaller states have shown to be the death knell of one man, one woman show regional parties.  Goa and Delhi have pretty much had back to back Congress BJP governments with the regional parties on the sidelines. Jharkhand weakened Laloo Yadav’s RJD in Bihar while pretty much reducing the RJD and the JMM to the sidelines until the Congress played dirty tricks backing Koda. Chattisgarh and Uttaranchal as well are pretty much a BJP, Congress affair with no role for either the Bahujan Samaj Party or the Samajwadi Party. The reasons for the Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury lead CPI-M to oppose statehood for Telangana is very easily understandable. It puts a spoke in the CPI-M’s grandiose plans for a 3rd front of motley regional parties. It is time the two principal national parties Congress and the BJP made common cause on the formation of smaller states.

Offstumped Bottomline:  Linguistic division of states has resulted in administratively inefficient units. The emotive concept of linguistic basis for states is an idea past its sell by date. Economic development and Migration across the country is rendering language irrelvant. Offstumped endorses the move to create smaller states. The Vajpayee NDA Government showed how this could be done. It is time the Congress moved to act on this issue rather than take refuge in a States Re-organization Commission which will never see the light of the day.

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