Saturday, September 6, 2014

One Hundred Days of Diplomacy

In what has been one of the most keenly observed governments in many a sub-40 lifetime, one of the standout accomplishments of the Narendra Modi government has been on the diplomatic front. Aided by an efficient Foreign Minister and an ebullient set of babus in South Block, PM Modi has shored up India's profile by some extent internationally. What is particularly noteworthy is the manner in which all diplomatic moves appear to have been thought out - giving each international visitor/host a special honour, as has been his wont.
Here's a quick recap of the hectic diplomatic calendar India's Ministry of External Affairs has followed in the past 100 days, with special mention of how each visit was special.

Country Outgoing/Incoming Who? Speciality
SAARC Incoming All SAARC Countries First-of-a-kind invitation to SAARC leaders for a Prime Minister's Swearing-In Ceremony
Saree Diplomacy with Pakistan
Bhutan Outgoing Prime Minister PM's first foreign visit after assuming office
China Outgoing Vice President First visit by an Indian Vice President to China since 1994
Bangladesh Outgoing Foreign Minister Foreign Minister's first stand-alone foreign visit after assuming office
Nepal Outgoing Prime Minister An Indian PM's visit to Nepal after 17 years
Myanmar Outgoing Foreign Minister -
Singapore Outgoing Foreign Minister -
Sri Lanka Incoming Tamil National Alliance A carefully-planned visit to show that the PM was his own man despite perceived closeness to certain Rajapakse-supporters in party
Vietnam Outgoing Foreign Minister -
Japan Outgoing Prime Minister Everything about the visit
Bahrain Outgoing Foreign Minister Foreign Minister's first visit to the Gulf region
Australia Incoming Prime Minister First State Guest of Modi Government
USA Outgoing Prime Minister Simply the fact that the PM has consented to visit Washington DC.

Symbolism is a much abused concept in India. Its importance is either exaggerated or summarily dismissed. What Modi has done here is to treat it with the respect it deserves. What's more - whether by design or by coincidence, more-or-less all of the new government's diplomatic engagements have ensured that the other country feels special in some way at least.
And all this simply analyzing the Modi government's diplomatic activities at a very superficial level.
A map to show the countries which we have engaged with in these 100 days.

What is evident is a clear focus on the neighbourhood - an aspect of diplomacy that we appear to have ignored over the past (lost) decade. Our concerns and engagements over the past decade were all high-ticket commodities - be it the US or Russia or China. This offers another insight into Modi's line of thinking - incrementalism or attention to the smaller items. This is, by no means, meant to belittle the countries (Japan is of course no "small item"), but show our Prime Minister has got his priorities right and is aiming for the long term. We have a Prime Minister who appears to be acting with the confidence of someone who knows he has got a decade to cause significant changes to the nation's policies. This might explain why, contrary to popular expectations, he isn't rushing into big-bang reforms but is taking his time to get all the basics right. To us, systemic change is about creating new sweeping laws. To Modi, it appears to be changing the engagement and approach to administration.
Anyhow, coming back to diplomacy, the beginning has been nothing short of awesome and as they say, well-begun is half-done. Here's hoping the PM builds upon this solid foundation and establishes India's (rightful?) pre-eminence on the global stage.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Predicting Service Allocation

An idle mind is a devil's workshop they say. An excited mind is a scientist's workshop in that case. Not that scientists aren't devils, but you get the drift, don't you?
So anyhow, as the 1000 of us 1122 who've cleared this year's Civil Services Examination eagerly await our respective service allocations (the top 122 or so can rest assured they'll get whatever they want), I thought of extending my work to predict this.

Presenting cowmaaa's Predictive Analytics for Service Allocation 
  • Approach 1 -
    This is the raw approach where I simply mapped data from 2009-2012 with the last rank in the General category (without any disabilities) for each respective service. Plotted a Polynomial Regression trendline in Excel and here's the graph -
    Last Rank for Service Vs Year of Service Allocation

    According to this graph, the last ranks in General category for the following Services would be as follows -
    • IAS - 138
    • IFS -92
    • IPS - 300
    • IRS (IT) - 510
    • IRS (C&CE) - 660

    However, one fundamental, if not obvious, flaw with this approach is that though there are more vacancies this year compared to any of the previous years, the increase is purely from the Group A & Group B Services - with IAS (94 in 2012 to 90 in 2013), IFS (16 to 17) & IPS (75 to 75) pretty much remaining stagnant compared to last year.
    So then I figured this would not be accurate.
  • Approach 2 -
    This improved approach entails plotting the last rank for each of the Services over the years (i.e. 2009-2012) against the number of General vacancies for that particular service that year. This way, the trendline would indicate last rank strictly based on the number of vacancies only and not the year.

    Accordingly, this is the graph -

    Last Rank for Service Vs No of Vacancies for Service
    This graph gives a much more realistic view of things. Last predicted ranks for IAS, IFS & IPS pretty much remain the same, given the vacancies are also the same, while those for the 2 IRS's can be expected to increase understandably, by a reasonable amount. Here's the predicted list of final ranks for the different services based on Linear Regression from the graph above -
    • IAS - 102
    • IFS - 140
    • IPS - 285
    • IRS (IT) - 380
    • IRS (C&CE) - 580
Let's see how close I am to what eventually transpires. :-D

Service Predicted Last Rank Actual Last Rank
IAS 102 92
IFS 140 141
IPS 285 249
IRS (IT) 380 369
IRS (C&CE) 580 541

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Civil Services Interview

Date: 17th April, 2014
Session: Afternoon
Time: 2:35 PM – 2:55 PM
Duration: 20 minutes
Chairman of the Interview Board: Vice Admiral D.K.Dewan

I am ushered into the interview room, so I don’t have to knock. I excuse myself inside and when I am near the chair, the Chairman asks me to sit down. I was conscious about looking each member in the eye, wishing them “Good Afternoon” and sat comfortably, keeping my arms on the arm-rest of the chair and interlocking my fingers of both my hands in front of me, visible to the board.
·         Chairman
1.       What is your name, roll number?
Sir – **********

2.       So what are you doing/where do you work now?
Sir, I am working in a company called ******* based out of Chennai.

3.       What does your company do?
Sir we deal in data analytics. We look at customer data and advise the company on how to improve their earnings/profits, after analysing the data.

4.       What is your responsibility in your company?
Sir, I am a Senior Analyst in the company. I have a semi-technical, semi-managerial role. On the managerial front, I mentor 2 entry-level analysts and help them do their daily tasks. On the technical front, I look at the sales data of companies and give them recommendations about how to improve their business.

5.       Ok, what is the meaning of “Avadi”? (From the profile since I had interned at DRDO in Avadi, Chennai. The Chairman pronounced the word as “Avaadi” and was corrected by the Tamilian-looking board member who, I think, told him that this was the name of the place, but the Chairman ignored it)
Sir, I interned in DRDO at Avadi, which is the name of the place. I am not aware of the meaning.

6.       You have a Post-Graduate degree in Computer Science and have travelled all over the world, why do you want to join the Civil Services?
Sir, can I answer this from the perspective of foreign services, since IFS is my first option?
Chairman (and 1-2 other board members too, if I am not wrong): Yes yes, please do.
Me: Sir, ever since I landed in the US, I felt like I was a representative of India. I felt a sense of pride and carried myself off as a representative of India. While doing my Master’s, I got the opportunity to interact with students from different countries & cultures and I really enjoyed these interactions. When in the US, I started following international affairs more closely. I believe these are some of the essential qualities of a diplomat. Moreover, I started following the development happening in India and wanted to be part of it. This is why I want to join the Services.

Follow Up Question 1: So is it because of the development in America that you want to join the Services in India?
Yes sir. The US was quite developed when I went there and India had just started on its growth story. I thought there was great potential for it to grow and hence, I myself wanted to be part of the India Development Story.

Follow Up Question 2: You can contribute to the “India Development Story” even by being a Software Engineer, why do you want to become a Civil Servant for that?
Yes sir, I agree that I can contribute to the India Growth Story even being a Software Engineer, however, the contribution I will be able to make to India’s growth will be much more immense if I am a civil servant.

7.       How many countries does India have diplomatic missions in?
Sir, if I am not wrong, we have missions in about 180 countries.
Chairman, in a surprised tone: Are you sure? Do you know how many countries are there?
Sir, I am sorry, I was mistaken. We have about 180 overseas missions overall, not in all the countries.

Follow up Question 2: What do you think are the functions of a diplomatic mission abroad?
Sir, our diplomatic mission in any country is our government’s official representative in that country. Any dealings between the 2 countries are handled through the missions. It is also the duty of our diplomats posted in these countries to closely analyze developments happening in the host country and report back to our government on a regular basis. Our diplomatic offices also play a part in trade relations between the 2 countries.

Follow up Question 3: In this age of Internet & Google, we can have information about events happening in one place anywhere else in the world. Still, why do we need to have diplomatic missions abroad?
Sir, I agree that the internet has made it possible to access information anywhere; however, ground reality is often different. And our diplomatic offices keep an ear on the ground to report the actual ground scenario in the host countries.

·         Board Member 1 (Sardarji)
1.       You were born in Vizag. Can you tell me about the causes for the creation of Telengana?
Sir, Telengana was initially never a part of what is now Andhra Pradesh. It became a part only around 1960. The people of Telengana have highly regionalistic feelings about Telengana and identity themselves more with T than Andhra. Besides, apart from Hyderabad, there has not been much development in the Telengana region. Owing to all this, Telengana was created.
Follow up Question 1: What is your opinion about this?
Me: Sir, would you like to know about my opinion on the Telengana split or state splits in general?
Member 1: Please answer about smaller states in general.
Me: Ok sir. In general, there is a perception that smaller states are better administered . . .
Member 1 interrupts: No no, tell me *your* opinion.
Me: Ok sir. It is easier to administer smaller states in general. However, this cannot be the only rationale to go about splitting bigger states. We need to consider other factors like development level of the state, sentiments of the local people, demands, etc. before we decide to split states. Hence, we need to deal with the issue of smaller states on a case-by-case basis.

2.       What is the reason of the dispute between North Korea and South Korea?
[Momentarily flustered since this wasn’t something I knew much about nor
Sir, North & South Korea have been historically antagonistic towards each other. North Korea has an autocratic government that has been led for many years by a single family. Sorry, I’m not able to recall the name of the current ruler. South Korea, on the other hand, is a democracy.
Board Member: That is fine, but what is the root cause of their problem?
Me: [I kind of repeat the above answer, but cannot proceed further. Realize this and
tell him that I am not sure of the actual historical reason for this

·         Board Member 2 (possibly Tamilian)
1.       What is the Sahara scam all about? What is the issue with the SC?
Sir, the issue with Sahara is that they have so far not refunded about Rs.24,000 crores of money to the investors, as per SC directives. The case itself is that the supposed investors are fictitious and don’t exist at all. However, till date, Sahara has not refunded the money.
Follow up Question 1: Can you explain SEBI’s role in the scam?
Sir, the SEBI is involved because of OFCD’s – Optionally Fully Convertible Debentures. I am not sure beyond this sir.

2.       What was the recent controversy about the Lok Pal appointment?
Sir, I faintly remember a retired Justice was part of this controversy.
Member: Yes yes you are right. It is Justice K.T.Thomas.
Me: Sir, Justice K.T.Thomas was offered the post of Lok Pal but refused.
Member: Is it? Are you sure? I thought it had to do with the selection committee.
Me: I am sorry sir, I am not sure of this.

3.       Can you explain about the Green Tribunal?
Sir, the Green Tribunal is a Govt-organization, sorry Govt-body . . .
Member: Are you sure?
Me: Yes sir, the Green Tribunal is a govt-organization that looks into projects and their environmental compliance. It checks to see what kind of impact projects have on the environment.
Member: But the name “tribunal” suggests that it has some judicial functions to do as well, right? Like adjudicating on issues between 2 parties?
Me (smiling): Sir, yes sir. I think that is also one of their responsibilities.
Member: So what else do they do?
Me: Sir, I’m not aware beyond this.

·         Chairman
1.       Recently, there is a high-profile court case going on in South Africa about an athlete. What is it about?
Sir, the name of the athlete is Oscar Pistorius and he is a double-amputee. He is an athletics champion and runs on prosthetic legs. The case relates to the murder of his girlfriend, Reena (I don’t know the last name sir) whom he shot in the bathroom. His contention is that he shot her mistaking her for an intruder, but the case that has been made out is that he shot her after an argument between them.
Follow up Question 1: So is the case over?
Sir, no sir, it is still going on.

·         Board Member 3
1.       You have mentioned about “Empowerment” in your profile. What is the difference between Emancipation and Empowerment?
Sir, “Emancipation” refers to us improving the lives of a set of people and uplifting their condition. “Empowerment” refers to helping people help themselves and taking care of their own lives.
Follow Up Question 1: Which is better?
Sir, in my opinion, Empowerment is better since it makes them independent and self-reliant.
Follow Up Question 2: Isn’t emancipation a part of empowerment?
Yes sir, emancipation is part of empowerment. However, viewing the 2 separately, I would say empowerment is better because it makes people independent.

2.       In the past 6 years, you have been working in so many jobs and have not been in one job for more than 1 year. What is the reason for this?
Sir, ever since my return to India, I have been seriously preparing for the Civil services. My first job since I came to India – I had to satisfy my parents’ concerns for my future and so wanted to establish a credible backup. So I joined a start-up. I started as a Software Engineer and became a Project Lead in 2 years. Then I wanted to prepare full-time for the Services and so joined a public-sector bank as a Probationary Officer.
Member: Yes yes, I can see you worked in ***** Bank . . .
Me: Yes sir, I joined ****** Bank as a PO so I could prepare better for the services and also wanted good rural exposure. I stayed here for about 10 months after which I thought I had prepared enough and then joined my current company which will be my backup in case civil services don’t work out. I did not quit any company out of boredom or lack of interest sir, and all my changes were to enable me to prepare for the services only.

Follow Up Question 1: So you have used these companies as a springboard. If you get selected into the services tomorrow, will you use it as a springboard to achieve something else?
Me (smiling): Sir, Civil Services is my lifetime ambition and I will not leave this if I get into it.

·         Board Member 4 (Lady)
1.       With regard to Indo-Pak relations, do you think diplomats have failed? Why has diplomacy not been able to take the relationship forward?
Mam, diplomacy can play a part only up to a certain point. Beyond this, it is up to the concerned governments to take it forward. In the case of Indo-Pak relations, I would say it is the Pakistan government which is to be blamed for not cooperating with us and helping take forward the relationship.

Follow up Question 1: What do you think is the ideal way to deal with Pakistan?
(Momentarily flustered since this was a very broad-based question)
Mam, I think we need to deal with Pakistan using a carrot-and-stick strategy. On the one hand, we need to increase our engagements with them. But on the other, in case any adverse events like November 26 happen again, we need to deal with them with an iron hand, strictly.

Follow Up Question 2: What about Kashmir is that an issue?
Yes mam, Kashmir is a core issue.

Follow up Question 3: Do you think Kashmir should be given away? Should the plebiscite be held?
No mam, Kashmir should not be given away at all. The Kashmiri people, in spite of any grievances they may have against India, have enjoyed democratic privileges all this while. Tomorrow, if Kashmir goes to Pakistan or becomes independent, we can never be sure that they will continue to enjoy their democratic rights and privileges. Moreover, from a security-perspective, we will be in more danger if Kashmir is given away than what is there now. Hence, I don’t think Kashmir should be given away.

2.       You have written in your profile that you advise students wishing to pursue higher studies in the US. Why is that so? Do you want to encourage students to leave India and go to US?
Mam, I advise students who have already decided that they want to go to the US to pursue their higher education. I don’t advise students to go to the US. My advice to the students is purely because I have been there and my knowledge about life there, so I just want to make their journey to the US easier. I do not particularly encourage them to go to the US.

3.       What is Silicon Valley?
Silicon Valley is a region in California which is considered to be the global home of the Information Technology industry worldwide.
(I thought of explaining further, but stop short, thinking it would be best to answer only if she asked further)

Lady Member to Chairman: I am done.

Chairman looks up at me as if to ask me a question, then says “Thank you”. I am unsure for a moment, but the Chairman I think said “your interview is over”. I thank all of them and leave.

My take on the Interview

I think I handled the first few questions fairly okay – about my company, what I do, etc. Maybe a little bit more finesse and practice would’ve helped in the answers, but reasonably okay.
  • Avadi – after my friend told me, I realized I’d read somewhere that it is actually an acronym for “Armoured Vehicles & Ammunition Depot of India”, but Wiki says the name precedes the acronym. Anyhow, this was okay I guess. 
  • Despite the missions-in-180-countries error, I think I handled the rest of the Chairman’s questions well, particularly the “Why Civil services” question. 
  • Oh and lest I forget - totally missed one of the most important functions of our missions abroad - handling Indian expats in that country. Not sure how big a blunder, but a major miss nevertheless. 
  • Telengana – reasonably done. 
  • North Vs South Korea – 1st major hiccup. As an IFS-aspirant, should’ve known this. I think he was expecting “Capitalism Vs Communism” in the answer – a simple point I missed out. 
  • Sahara scam – Started well, but lost out at SEBI. I knew where SEBI came in and what OFCD’s are about, but I guess I panicked there. Didn’t want to be seen beating around the bush so thought better off to stop with whatever I’d said. 
  • Lok Pal appointment – Controversy was that K.T.Thomas rejected the post of Lok Pal Appointment Committee member because he thought their decisions were not binding. One more hiccup. 
  • Green Tribunal – Biggest hiccup so far. I described a quasi-judicial body as a government organization. Again came across as unsure. 
  • Oscar Pistorius – Full-toss dispatched for six IMO. Only issue might be the possibility that I over-answered, i.e. spoken more than was expected but given the Chair followed up with a question on this, guess I did well. 
  • Empowerment Vs Emancipation – Should’ve included “sustainable” as one of the reasons for empowerment. Maybe greater clarity in saying emancipation part of empowerment, but again, overall okay I guess. 
  • Job-switching – well-handled IMO. Basically it was the plain truth. Hopefully, honesty works. 
  • Indo-Pak Diplomacy – Can’t think of how I could’ve answered something better for an interview. 
  • Kashmir – I particularly thought the “democracy” bit was a great point. Hopefully the board will concur. 
  • Higher Studies/Silicon Valley – reasonably okay.
But for the 3-4 factual questions about Lok Pal, Green Tribunal, etc. I think the rest of the interview was quite smooth. There wasn’t a single question to which I had *no* idea about. On the other hand, the board could think I had superficial knowledge – considering I couldn’t go deep on those 4 questions.
Over and above, I was brutally honest all through the interview. I spoke with conviction and (I’d like to think) calmness. I sincerely hope my conviction and honesty gets me across the board.

About the Board: The board was cordial – neither friendly nor rude. Except the Chairman, nobody smiled. Even the Chairman’s smile – I am not sure if it was this warmth-giving smile or one of those condescending smiles, specifically because I think he smiled when asking me about my post-graduate degree and joining the services. The lady member could very well be a psychologist, given she kept looking away when I was answering her. I smiled from time to time during the interview, and halfway through the interview, I realized I was using my hands. Tried reigning them in.

Prediction: Assuming I never miscommunicated any arrogance or over-confidence during the interview (I can never be sure of this), I don’t think I’ll go below 160. My sir and some of my friends have said 190-200 and I’d be thrilled at anything in the region of 200, but will just close my eyes and pray for it to happen.


As it turns out, my interview was a washout going by the marks. I got 151/275 in the Interview which effectively killed my hopes of a sub-150 rank. A lot of people I know have got in the region of 170-200. Had I got even 40 more in the interview, I would've most likely ended up in the top 100/top 150. Anyway, no regrets. Let's see what the future holds. :-)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

When Twitter became Suffocating

Not a week has passed since Narendra Modi assumed office and the level of scrutiny over his decisions in this brief period almost borders on the insane.
Consider the few decisions he has taken -

1. Portfolio allocation - Smriti Irani's educational qualifications, Arun Shourie's non-inclusion in the Cabinet to name two.
2. Ordinance to bring in Nripendra Mishra - one suggestion goes so bizarre as to make Nripendra Mishra a minister in the PMO to circumvent the TRAI Act hitch. Another says the govt could've waited till Parliament convened & given their numbers, that this Amendment could be passed comfortably and that, till then, Principal Sec to PM not required!
3. Initiation of discussion on Article 370

I'm already gasping for breath after these 3. And it's now what - 3 days since Modi took the oath? I'm all for informed citizenry, opinions, constructive criticism and all that, but the sheer volume of rhetoric involved is mind-boggling. I'm not even going to compare this with the amount of scrutiny any prior government had to face (no, I'm not going to say UPA). It's great to see people reading up stuff (me included), but what's happening is that folks are running around like headless chickens.
Issue 1 raised by X (usually a "neutral" person and/or disgruntled BJP supporter and/or "liberal" and/or well-wishing/highly-informed/rules-talking armchair intellectuals), 2-3 articles linked. Then the inevitable archive-digging (this is the in-vogue timepass these days - dig up people's tweets that seemingly contradict/are not entirely in line with their current position - then thumb your nose and laugh). This is then used to insinuate that the current government is no different & that they too go back on their own words.

What's most saddening is how hard core supporters who waited for many years to see Modi become PM haven't been able to wait for a few months, nay days, to see what he does. What's left is a virtual deluge on one's timeline. These aren't even people like priyankac19 or gsurya, but supporters (at least those who claim to be) that are onto Modi's decisions within minutes.

I, for one, hope Modi & his team aren't spending too much time reading tweets and instead, using it only to disseminate information. He needs at least a solid 6 months to get the basics on track. I'm sure there isn't too much "citizen-outreach", "feedback mechanism", etc needed to get the basics right. Constructive noise might be constructive, but it is still noise. And right now, it is becoming unbearable.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The BJP's Telengana Strategy

If there is one thing that exceeds die-hard BJP supporters' passion for the BJP, it is their expectations from the party. There is very little allowance for sub-optimal moves and at the hint of even a minor slip, they become disgruntled and start criticizing the party, even before the AAP or Congress (note the order) starts.
BJP's handling of Telengana is the latest in a long list of moves that have left BJP-supporters unenthused and disappointed. I did not see either the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha debate on the Telengana bill but broad consensus from my twitter timeline (as well as newspapers) is -
  • BJP's Lok Sabha performance was an unmitigated disaster. The party meekly capitulated to the bill.
  • Sushma Swaraj (as usual) screwed up. Some even ventured to hint at her long-standing (purported) closeness with Sonia Gandhi as the reason for her actions in the Lok Sabha.
  • By comparison, the Rajya Sabha was much better for the BJP. They moved some good amendments.
  • Venkaiah Naidu earned some respect for himself from his speech in the Rajya Sabha.
Overall: the BJP's performance in the parliament with reference to the Telengana bill appears to have been a failure, at least in the eyes of supporters.
Be that as it may, it is probably time to take a bird's eye view of the whole issue. Agreed - the parliament debate, which is the final step in the whole process (nail in the coffin? :), remains at the centre even from a bird's eye view, still, the bigger picture is worth looking at.
The Big Picture
  • The BJP has had a minimal presence at best, in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Jagan Reddy has become the leading contender by far in appropriating the "United Andhra" faction. Chandrababu Naidu, for all his abilities & accomplishments, continues to languish at a distant 2nd in Seemandhra.
  • It's KCR all the way in Telengana. No two ways about it.
  • All around, I am told, Congress-decimation looms in both Seemandhra & Telengana. The thing with Machiavellian tactics is that it takes time for even a half-decently-informed observer to figure out where and how such a tactic will reap dividends. Congress, which, on the face of it, appears to be the loser, will find its own ways of bouncing back. Or not.
So where does that leave the BJP?
  • Riding on the "United Andhra" bandwagon - Taken.
    Led by Jagan. 2nd spot taken by CBN. Even the Congress has its presence here in the form of Kiran Kumar Reddy (mutiny or no mutiny). So little or no sense in joining this bandwagon as a 4th player.
  • Pure Telengana-play - KCR all the way, sure. But BJP has no locus standi as far as the history of this claim is concerned. So they could never use a "we have always stood for Telengana" in the sense KCR used it. Though one must add that ever since BJP ventured to express its opinion on this issue, it has been *for* Telengana. In that sense, yes, they have remained steadfast. Appreciable.
Given these circumstances, they chose the best possible alternative - stand for Telengana, but ramp up the unity factor & assuage concerns of Seemandhra. Now this is a seemingly obvious option, but surprisingly, very few apart from the BJP have espoused this, at least vocally.
When Narendra Modi thundered "Jai Telengana, Jai Seemandhra" in Hyderabad in August 2013, he was, quite noticeably, the first (and till date, possibly only) national leader who made an attempt (however meek) at establishing unity between the 2 regions. What the BJP has by its pro-Telengana stance is show its commitment to the Telengana cause. At the same time, the BJP has espoused the cause of Seemandhra admirably in a way even Jagan hasn't. While Jagan & CBN's stances have come across more from the pov of "United Andhra" as a Telugu cause, there has been little evidence of them having talked about the practical implications - economic & social aspects of Seemandhra. This is where BJP has really scored, in my opinion.
Obviously, despite having been born in Seemandhra & living next-door in TN, I am, for all practical purposes, an outsider. I am also unaware of the kind of coverage BJP's actions/commitment have got in the local media in Andhra and what the average Telugu thinks of BJP's stance (if he even has BJP in mind, that is). I am also not sure of the kind of electoral dividends the BJP is likely to reap from their Telengana strategy, in the 2014 elections (both Lok Sabha as well as Assembly) however, this is possibly the best they could have done, given the current circumstances.