Formula-E fiasco: Has Revanth government shot itself in the foot?

Stunned by the backlash it received for the cancellation of the Formula-E race scheduled in February in Hyderabad, the Revanth Reddy government has resorted to damage control measures.

The Congress government has issued a memo to Aravind Kumar, the then secretary of the Municipal Administration department, alleging irregularities in the payments made to the event. The whole show-cause notice episode appears to be an attempt to salvage the lost prestige and a bid to portray that something has gone wrong.

However, the mudslinging of a senior IAS officer will backfire on two counts. Going against a senior, competent, and efficient officer like Aravind Kumar will send a wrong signal to the bureaucracy. It appears as if the Congress government is trying to make bureaucrats scapegoats for their personal political vendetta. The second wrong signal this witch hunt exercise sends is that even a prestigious organization like Formula E can be dragged into a needless controversy to gain some political brownie points. The lobby of All India Service officers is powerful, and any attempts to malign senior officers will backfire heavily.

Amid severe competition from several global cities, the efforts of former Minister KTR and the Telangana government successfully brought the Formula-E race to Hyderabad. According to the organizers, the inaugural Hyderabad E-Prix in February last year returned almost 84M USD in positive economic impact to the region. The amount is many times more than the overhead costs invested by Formula-E and the Telangana government.

Despite the international fame and the positive economic impact the race brought to Hyderabad, the Congress government has unceremoniously dumped the event. In the last 30 days, the Revanth government has committed a series of blunders, and with the latest fiasco, it has shot itself in the foot. The current regime is only relying on a political vendetta against the past government to cover up its own inefficiencies.

Furthermore, with such developments, prestigious international organizations and marquee investors will be wary of entering into any sort of agreement with a litigant government, and it will be a big blow to Revanth Reddy’s image too.