Tomorrow, two states will stand where Andhra Pradesh once did. Typical of how this statehood issue has played out, there is uncertainty even about what the non-Telangana part will be called. Amidst unseemly disputes over assets, officials and areas, the birth pangs will continue, reports Sreenivas Janyala
Telangana was first raised as a major demand in the late 1960s and its fortunes have oscillated with political calculations of the powers-that-be. It was promised four and a half years ago by the Centre, only to be put on hold following protests. The new state was finally cleared in February this year amidst unprecedented ruckus in Parliament, involving an MP using pepper spray and blacking out of the House telecast. Finally, beginning Monday, Andhra Pradesh as we know it will cease to exist. What won’t change is the two sibilings going down to the wire squabbling.
With the UPA government concerned more about the political dividends of the division than the logistics in its last days in power at the Centre, and with everybody wanting a share of Hyderabad, the two new states are staring at many areas where their paths will cross, often literally.
Flower pots as boundary
On June 2 at 8.15 am at Raj Bhavan, K Chandrasekhara Rao, the chief of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, will take oath as the first chief minister of Telangana. With 6 his “lucky number”, Rao will enter his office at 12.57 pm. One of his first tasks will be clearing ex-gratia for families of those who died for the cause of Telangana.
Six days later, N Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) will take oath as the chief minister of Andhra. It’s not known yet what the new state will be called, or where Naidu will be sworn in, Vijayawada or Guntur.
The existing Andhra Assembly building at Nampally will become the Telangana Assembly. The Jubilee Hall in the Assembly complex will temporarily serve as the Andhra Assembly.
Similarly, the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat will be housed temporarily within the existing Secretariat complex in Hyderabad that is now to serve as the seat of the Telangana government.
The existing Secretariat was originally a set of buildings known as the Saifabad Palace, built between 1885 and ’88 by the Nizams. All the old buildings were brought down and, in 1983, new blocks built by then chief minister N T Rama Rao. Based on vaastu, the C block came to house the CM’s office. Come June 2, Chandrasekhara Rao will use this block.
The building will have two entrances, one each for the two Secretariats sharing the space. While the entrance from the Mint Compound side will be used by Rao, the Telugu Talli Flyover entrance will be for Naidu. The entrance that has been used all these years — facing Hussain Sagar Lake — continued…