Editorial

Mayawati's masterstroke

| Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on November 17, 2011

The Congress cannot readily support the UP demand without further queering the pitch in Andhra Pradesh.

Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister, Ms Mayawati, has time and again shown that she possesses one of the shrewdest political brains in the country. Her latest proposal, to carve up Uttar Pradesh into four smaller states, is a political masterstroke that has unsettled the Opposition in the run-up to the early-2012 polls to the State Assembly. With the exception of the Samajwadi Party – which has opposed the division, given the potentially disastrous break-up of its caste and community-based vote bank – the mainstream national parties (Congress and the BJP) have been forced into an uncomfortable corner. Ideologically and politically, they may not be opposed to the proposal; but openly declaring their support would only give Ms. Mayawati the advantage she seeks in the upcoming elections. By moving ahead, she has managed to shift the focus of the political debate to State formation, and away from the issues of governance, development, law and order, and siphoning of money in welfare schemes.

The Congress, in particular, is in a bind. As the principal ruling party at the Centre, it cannot readily support the UP demand without further queering the pitch in Andhra Pradesh, where the agitation for a separate Telangana State has virtually paralysed the administration. On the other hand, doing well in the UP elections is equally important, since they could be the launch pad for Congress heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi's move to a larger role at the national level. A good show there – similar to the party's performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls – may, in fact, restore the legitimacy of a beleaguered Government at the Centre. Who knows, the Assembly polls could even give it a second wind and much-needed confidence to bring economic reforms back on the agenda.

As regards UP's division, there is certainly a compelling economic logic for it. Even after the formation of a separate Uttarakhand from its erstwhile hill districts, the State sprawls over nearly 2.5 lakh square kilometers, where some 200 million people live. On paper, the creation of Pashchim Pradesh, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh and Poorvanchal should galvanise governance and focus policy attention to the specific needs of these culturally, geographically and economically diverse regions. In reality, though, the track record of creating smaller States has been mixed. While some like Chhattisgarh have done well in terms of attracting industry or even reforms of the public distribution system, they have not been free of corruption and governance-related problems. Moreover, they have also proved highly inept in handling the growing challenge posed by Maoist insurgency. But on the whole, the original logic for formation of States, based on linguistic commonality, has clearly been rendered obsolete. That definitely presents the case for a second States Reorganisation Commission – following the first one constituted in 1953 – that would examine these issues afresh.

Published on November 17, 2011

A letter from the Editor


Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
null
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.