Kommineni Srinivasa Rao
The chief minister designate of Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had a fruitful interaction with Telangana chief minister, K. Chandrasekhar Rao. The interaction marked a shift towards building a constructive and positive relationship with the neighbouring state of Telangana.
The warmth which KCR and working President of TRS, K Tarakarama Rao (KTR) demonstrated towards YS Jagan showed their generosity of spirit. Going back to the situation five years ago, the TDP had won 15 seats in Telangana. The BJP emerged victorious in 5 seats. AP chief minister Chandrababu Naidu was in Hyderabad, then the joint capital, and established the state secretariat here.
The TDP chief would criticise KCR and say that he (KCR) knew very little about governance and administration. Chandrababu would go a step further and used to brag that he would stay put in Hyderabad till the TDP comes to power.
The impact of strained relations between the two states because of such statements and counter-statements, would be felt. The AP chief chief minister would also say that police stations of his state would be set up in Hyderabad, since it was the joint capital.
After his involvement in the Note-for-Vote case aimed at toppling the Telangana government, got exposed, Chandrababu Naidu had to flee from Hyderabad to Vijayawada in haste. For some time, Chandrababu maintained restraint, though disputes between the two states kept breaking out. In the 2018 elections in Telangana, he attempted to forge an alliance with the TRS and began criticising the TRS after he failed to do so.
In the election campaign during Telangana assembly polls, after his alliance with the Congress, his sharp criticism of the the TRS and KCR, evoked taunts from the TRS chief. Chandrababu seemed to have glossed over the fact that lakhs of families had moved to Hyderabad from Andhra regions over the years and settled there. His hostile behaviour annoyed them no end and they felt that he was needlessly creating tension between the two states.
Both the Congress and TDP suffered a humiliating defeat in Telangana. In the Kukatpally constituency, Chandrababu's plans received a severe jolt when the voters, among whom were huge numbers of Andhra settlers, defeated Nandamuri Harikrishna's daughter, Suhasini, convincingly. But the TDP supremo failed to learn from his mistakes.
Chandrababu continued to criticise KCR well after the Telangana elections and would react sharply to KCR's comment of handing the TDP chief a return gift. He tried without success, to depict a picture of PM Modi, YS Jagan and KCR conspiring against him.
Once YS Jagan scored a resounding victory, he went to meet the Governor after being elected as the leader of the YSR Congress Legislature Party. Subsequently, he called on the Telangana chief minister and extended an invitation to KCR to attend his swearing-in. On KCR's part, he he stated that the two states should move forward harmoniously and the need to work closely on irrigation projects and issues related to Godavari water in a spirit of give and take.
KCR showed exemplary courtesy to YS Jagan and also introduced him to the Speaker of the assembly, apart from his cabinet colleagues. When KCR visited Tirumala, YSR Congress Party leaders extended a cordial welcome to him there.
KCR will attend YS Jagan's swearing-in ceremony on Thursday . He has already declared that he would support the demand for SCS to Andhra Pradesh. YS Jagan has reiterated that with the combined strength of Telangana and AP MPs they could exert pressure on the Centre with respect to SCS, and struggle to achieve it.
YS Jagan and KCR will sort out in a cordial atmosphere, all problems between the two states, including ones related to funds which are still due after the bifurcation of the state. In doing so, they will set an example to other states in the country.