K CHANDRASHEKAR RAO, who has won a second stint as Chief Minister of Telangana, has signalled his intent to play a major role in national politics. After his party’s victory, KCR announced that he would form a new non-Congress, non-BJP national consortium of regional parties, and pitched once again for more autonomy to the states, suggesting that the Concurrent List be done away with.
As per the Constitution, powers are demarcated as Central, State and Concurrent. While sectors such as defence, aviation, railways and foreign affairs are with the Centre, and those such as municipal administration, transport and health are with the states, the Concurrent List covers subjects in which both the central and state governments have power — education from primary to university, health and family welfare, science and technology, forest and environment etc.
In calling for doing away with the Concurrent List, KCR stressed the need for decentralisation and devolution of power. “National parties want to strengthen the Concurrent List so that the Centre has maximum hold over states. In my view, there should be no Concurrent List and state governments should be able to decide what is best for their states,’’ he said.
State vs Centre
Some of the areas in which KCR wants a freer hand for states, specifically Telangana:
Muslim reservation: Last year, Telangana passed a Bill providing for 12% reservation to Muslims but has been unable to implement it because of a 50% reservation ceiling ordered by the Supreme Court. KCR has said Parliament should pass a law to do away with this cap on reservations, and that the Centre should let the states decide the quantum of reservation.
Primary education: KCR says the Centre should let states decide on issues like primary education. He has questioned why the Centre should decide where a primary school should come up in some corner of Telangana just because it gives funds, or how many teachers should be recruited for a school. The Telangana government has been paying salaries to panchayat school teachers and contract workers after the Centre withdrew funding two years ago.
Urban development: According to KCR, the Centre should not be the one to decide which town to develop in the state with central funds. “Each state is different. Local leaders would know better which town or city needs development rather than someone sitting in New Delhi,” he said.
Supreme Court: KCR has even suggested that every state capital should have a Supreme Court, instead of just one in Delhi.
KCR has said that neither the BJP nor the Congress has been unable to deliver the kind of governance that people expect now. “There is a dire need for an alternative political party at the national level. People are desperate for it. I will bring together regional parties from across India which will be an alternative to the Congress and the BJP. I am going to give a new definition to the political scenario in this country,” KCR said.
He said he and his ally, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, would start touring the country to identity regional parties that can be approached to form an alliance. “There is an acute political crisis in this country and a surgery is urgently required. A revolution is needed in economic and agriculture sectors. There are 15 crore farmers in this country… A high quality change is required in the politics of this country,’’ KCR said.
KCR plans to start meeting leaders of regional parties to build the alternative he is thinking of. “This election is a vindication of our policies and governance. Telangana is a model for the entire country and you will see soon that I will start working towards forming an alternative national party,’’ KCR said.