The large number of suicides in demand of a separate Telangana state in 2011 and 2012, and increasing support for it amongst opposition parties, including BJP, could have been the main reason behind the 2013 decision of the UPA government to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, a new book has revealed.
The book Old History New Geography: Bifurcating Andhra Pradesh by former Union minister Jairam Ramesh gives an account of year-long debates and discussions leading up to the creation of a separate Telangana state in February 2014 after the government had decided to do it in July the previous year.
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Ramesh, who was part of a Group of Ministers constituted to create a legislation to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, says the all-important decision to create Telangana was probably taken at a meeting at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence in the last week of June 2013, a few days before the Congress party passed a resolution in this regard.
“That evening Prime Minister hosted Sonia Gandhi, A K Antony, Sushilkumar Shinde, Ghulam Nabi Azad, P Chidambaram, Ahmed Patel and Digvijaya Singh at his residence. This meeting clearly decided that Telangana would finally be created, which was later formalised by the CWC on July 30,” he says in the book.
Ramesh says he does not clearly know what had prompted the decision, since the government had been playing the waiting game till then. “It could well be that the large number of tragic suicides that took place during 2011 and 2012 to push for the creation of Telangana influenced the final decision… It could also be that with the BJP, TDP and YSR Congress giving letters in favour of the creation of Telangana, the Congress felt that its hands were strengthened to go ahead with the bifurcation,” he says.
Ramesh says the expectation that TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao’s would merge his party in the Congress could also have encouraged the UPA to bifurcate the state.