The decision on Telangana may be tweaked with the Congress looking to revisit the option of including two adjacent districts from Rayalaseema in a bid to improve its electoral prospects.
It is learnt that the four-member A K Antony panel,which held its first meeting Tuesday,will take a call on this after Congress district presidents of Anantapur and Kurnool submitted their formal representations for a Rayala-Telangana state. In fact,this was the original Congress proposal but was dropped amid stiff opposition from pro-Telangana constituents.
On the issue of Hyderabad as joint capital for 10 years,sources said,the view is to follow the Delhi model in terms of separation of powers and bring law and order directly under the governor to avoid conflict between the two states. However,this idea is still being worked upon as there are several complications related to identifying bureaucratic resources in establishing such a protocol.
The Antony committee will also specifically look into the concerns of Seemandhra,the setting-up of a new capital,designing a special package and other related issues in an effort to address the growing discontent in that region after the Telangana announcement. It may be noted that BJPs 2014 campaign head Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had targeted the Congress in his Hyderabad rally for not making arrangements for Seemandhra in its hurry to create Telangana.
In the days since the official announcement,sources said,there have been behind-the-scenes discussions within the Congress on the details of the Telangana proposal,particularly on bringing the Rayala-Telangana proposal back on the table,even though there were divisions among Rayalaseema representatives on the issue.
The pressing logic within the Congress in favour of including the two districts is that it disturbs the electoral calculation of its adversaries. The two districts from Rayalaseema bring in a substantial Reddy vote as well as increase the concentration of minorities in the new state.
This is why Telangana Rashtra Samithi,which hopes to corner the credit for the creation of a separate state,is against the Rayala-Telangana proposal,while key Congress strategists feel it stands to benefit their electoral calculus. Broadly,the Lok Sabha seats will also be split through the middle with 21 seats each to both the states.
In Seemandhra region,YSR Congress could stand to lose as these two districts were crucial to its success. While there are divisions on this move within the Congress as well,sources said,the dominant view is that Rayala-Telangana provides the party a better electoral chance,one that is vital for the Congress if it wants to stem its losses in the state where it performed the best in the last general elections.
Meanwhile,the home ministry has still not received the green signal to move the cabinet proposal,though officials believe it will happen soon given the stiff timeline for creating the state. Once the cabinet clears the proposal,it will go to the President,who will then refer it to the state assembly for its opinion,which is not binding on the Centre. Also,a Group of Ministers will be set up to work on the details of creating a new state.