K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), the Chief Minister of Telangana, has written a letter to Prime Minister Modi, supporting the Central Vista Project, a redevelopment of Lutyens Delhi including a new Parliament. “The new Central Vista project will be a symbol of self-esteem, prestige and national pride of a resurgent, confident and strong India. I wish for the speedy completion of this prestigious and nationally important project,” wrote Mr Rao.
KCR has taken a 360-degree turn in the last few days, as he was vehemently attacking the saffron party and the Modi government during Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) election. The Telangana CM also alleged that the Central Government did not release enough funds for the state to tackle floods.
This sudden change of tone is probably due to the results of the GHMC polls, in which the saffron party rose from 4 seats to 48 and emerged as the second-largest party. After the spectacular performance in the GHMC election, BJP is eying the 2023 Telangana assembly election and looking to dethrone the KCR led TRS from the government.
Therefore, KCR is playing the Nitish Kumar card who sought the help of Prime Minister Modi to win the 2020 assembly election and remain the CM of the state. By praising the Prime Minister, KCR probably wants BJP to go soft for the 2023 Telangana Assembly Election.
The Greater Hyderabad area constitutes around one-third of Telangana’s total population and the performance of BJP in the GHMC election shows that it could easily win the state in 2023.
The Central Vista Project has been opposed by many opposition parties including Congress. However, the Modi government is very firm on the re-development of Lutyens Delhi to remove the remnants of colonial past from the remnants of the power corridor. KCR also noted down the fact about the association of Lutyens Delhi with the colonial past and wrote: “The existing government infrastructure in the national capital is inadequate and also associated with our colonial past.”
Though India attained independence and the British rule came to an end in 1947, the physical structures have survived as remnants of the British rule and so has the colonial hangover which is intrinsically attached to these buildings.
The Central Vista that represents “the values and aspirations of a New India — good governance, efficiency, transparency, accountability, and equity, and is rooted in Indian culture and social milieu” will be built by Tata Projects.
The plans of the Modi government also include constructing a new Parliament building or modifying the existing one, constructing a common Central Secretariat and upgrading the Central Vista into a major tourist attraction.
The deadline for this project is 2024. Therefore, by the end of its present term, the Modi government would have erased the British legacy and its hangover.
However, the Supreme Court has stopped the new constructions for the Central Vista Project for now. “You can lay the foundation stone, you can carry on paperwork but no construction or demolition, no cutting down any trees,” the Supreme Court told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the government.
The support by KCR has even more significance because the opposition parties as well as the judiciary have not been very comfortable with the project so far.
This is going to be a painful process for those who have reaped the benefits of the Lutyens’ zone for decades and therefore continue to romanticise Lutyens’ Delhi. But the fact remains that this feudal structure had lost relevance in 2014 when the Modi government came to power. It is a different matter that due to the basic structure of the Lutyens’ zone, those romanticising it never realised that it had lost its political power, along with it whatever relevance it still enjoyed. The incumbent regime has a humongous mandate to work on and it is most likely that by the end of its tenure, the present dispensation would have removed the legacy of the Lutyens’ zone from the face of Delhi.