Though the Central Government has expressed its desire to begin the process of forming a new state called Telangana by dividing Andhra Pradesh, it has not committed itself to a time-line for it. The Union Home Secretary GK Pillai, after commenting that the capital of the new Telangana state would be Hyderabad, had to backtrack and say that everything has to be decided through consensus.
Meanwhile, the atmosphere in Andhra Pradesh is confrontational, with Telangana activists and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi asserting there claim to Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana and politicians from Andhra Pradesh protesting any such move. Consensus and compromise would be pretty hard to come by in such a scenario.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said in a statement that the Centre “will initiate the process of forming the state of Telangana and an appropriate resolution will be moved in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.”
Chidambaram issued the statement at the end of 3 rounds of meetings between senior leader of the Congress and Sonia Gandhi, the Congress president.
If the Andhra Pradesh Assembly passes a resolution, the Central Government will consider a Bill on forming the state of Telangana, during the Budget Session of Parliament to be held in February, 2010, the Union Home Minister said.
At the same time, the future of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, remains vague. Hyderabad is unlikely to get the status of Union Territory.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the political party which has been leading the pro-Telangana agitation, while welcoming the Central Government’s decision to form Telangana, stressed that it will not accept the new state devoid of Hyderabad.
Soon after Union Home Minister P Chidambaram announced the Centre’s decision to start the process of forming the news state, K Chandrashekhar Rao, chief of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, ended his 11-day-long hunger-strike at the government-run Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in Hyderabad.
However, the Centre’s green-signal to form a new state out of Andhra Pradesh has given rise to new problems.
In a move that is a big setback to the Central Government, 96 MLAs from Andhra Pradesh, belonging to different political parties, have submitted their resignations to Kiran Kumar Reddy, Speaker of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, in protest. These MLAs belong to the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions – including 42 MLAs from the Telugu Desam Party, led by former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, and 11 MLAs from the Prajarajyam Party (PRP), lead by actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.
Top leader of the Congress said in New Delhi that they would work for a consensus.
Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily has reportedly said that the Congress is “concerned” with the mass resignations of MLAs in Andhra Pradesh.
Yet another problem that has cropped up in the aftermath of the Centre’s decision to go ahead with the formation of the Telangana state is over who will be the chief minister of the news state.
It will be keenly watched how Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah will manage the new situation.
Another hurdle is that the Telugu Desam Party, the main Opposition party in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, is opposed to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kiran Kumar Reddy was quoted by the media as saying that the Congress-led State Government is not yet in danger since he has not accepted any of the resignations of the MLAs.
Also, the Centre’s decision to create Telangana might set off a struggle to gain Hyderabad, one of the major cities in south India, as well as demands for the formation of new states from elsewhere in the country. Already, Ajit Singh of Haryana has revived th demand for a Harit Pradesh, while Mayawati has voiced her support for a Bundelkhand state. Politicians from Vidarbha region of Maharashtra have also revived their demand for a Vidarbha state citing neglect by the state government.
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