New Delhi: After years of protests and struggle,the proposal for a separate state for Telangana and the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday got the approval of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coordination committee and the Congress Working Committee (CWC).
It has been decided that Telangana will comprise 10 districts and Hyderabad will remain the joint capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for 10 years. After this period,a suitable place will be identified to be the capital of the Seemandhra region.
The official announcement in this regard was made by senior Congress leader Ajay Maken and party general secretary and Andhra Pradesh in-charge Digvijaya Singh following a day of marathon meetings in the national capital.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy was also in the national capital throughout the day wherein he held meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Meanwhile,both Sonia and Manmohan also held discussions on the issue before the UPA coordination committee and and CWC took the issue for consideration.
The real process began shortly after 4 pm when the UPA coordination committee met at the residence of the Prime Minister to discuss the issue of Telangana statehood. The meeting went on for around an hour,during which the proposal for a separate Telangana state was cleared unanimously by the allies of the Congress party.
Following the meeting of the UPA coordination panel,both Prime Minister and the Congress president met the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and asked him to not resign in protest against a separate Telangana.
Then began the most crucial meeting of the day,that of the Congress Working Committee,shortly after 5.30 pm. Congress president Sonia Gandhi,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde,Finance Minister P Chidambaram,party general secretary Digvijaya Singh and Ghulam Nabi Azad attended the meeting.
The meeting went on for almost an hour and it was decided to give a go ahead to the creation of Telangana. Shortly after the news emerged,there were reports of celebrations beginning in Hyderabad,particularly at the office of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
“It is resolved to request the Central government to make steps in accordance with the Constitution to form a separate state of Telangana ……within a definite timeframe,” said a resolution of the Congress Working Committee,the highest policy-making body of the party.
Later,making the formal announcement,former Union minister Ajay Maken said that the Centre would now be asked to take steps for the creation of a separate state for Telangana.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh added that the decision to create Telangana was not a hasty one,and was taken after detailed discussions. He assured that the issues of Seemandhra region,such as water sharing,would be addressed promptly.
Reacting to the go-ahead to the creation of a separate state for Telangana,the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the Congress was compelled to take the decision. Terming it as a victory for the people of Telangana,BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the decision was taken because of the struggle of the people and the pressure created by “parties like us”.
The momentous decisions by the CWC and the UPA came after hectic consultations for the last over a week on creation of the 29th state of the country that will have a geographical area of 10 of the 23 districts of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
The districts that will be part of the new state will be Adilabad,Karimnagar,Khammam,Mahaboobnagar,Medak,Nalgonda,Nizamabad,Rangareddy and Warangal besides Hyderabad.
At the moment the idea is to have 10 districts in Telangana but it will be for the Group of Ministers to consider demands for inclusion of more areas,said Digvijay Singh.
Out of 42 Lok Sabha seats and 294 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradehs,Telangana is likely to have 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 Assembly seats.
Andhra state,the first entity formed on linguistic basis, was created in 1953 from out of the erstwhile Madras Presidency with Kurnool as the capital. With the passing of the States Reorganisation Act,1956,there was a merger of Hyderabad state and Andhra state to be called Andhra Pradesh from November 1,1956. Andhra Pradesh now has a population of over 8.5 crore.
The 2009 announcement,taken at the height of an indefinite fast by TRS leader K Chandrashekhar Rao,had ignited street protests in the non-Telangana regions and opposition from ministers,MLAs and leaders from within the party that forced the central government and the Congress leadreship to put the issue on hold.
The Centre held rounds of meetings with all parties from the state and set up a Commission under the chairmanship for Supreme Court Judge Justice Srikrishna,which had given a report suggesting various solutions.
Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy,who was opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh and was said to be thinking in terms of resigning,was called for consultations. He attended the UPA meeting. However,he dismissed reports of resignation as “rumours”. Similarly,Congress ministers in the Union government and the MPs gave enough indications that they would follow the party line.
(With PTI inputs)