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2014 on its mind,UPA clears Andhra division

Hyderabad joint capital for 10 years,details left to GoM.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: October 4, 2013 3:23:32 am

The government on Thursday set in motion the process for creation of a separate Telangana state,with the Cabinet giving its go-ahead for setting up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to work out the modalities for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. As recommended by the Congress Working Committee,Hyderabad will remain joint capital of the two states — Telangana and Seemandhra — for 10 years.

Related: The politics beneath ’Telangana’ move

“The Cabinet has given its approval for creation of a new state of Telangana,” Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said after the meeting which lasted over two hours. “A Group of Ministers has been set up… and Hyderabad will be the joint capital of Telangana and Seemandhra for 10 years,” he said.

Full coverage: Statehood for Telangana

Soon after the announcement,union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi,who was in Hyderabad,was reported to have resigned. While Chiranjeevi was not available for comment,PTI quoted his personal assistant as saying that he had faxed his resignation to the PMO.

Related: Chiranjeevi resigns as minister over Telangana decision

The Cabinet’s decision is expected to face stiff opposition from Congress leaders from the Seemandhra region,including Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Related: Formation of Telangana to take six months

At the Cabinet meeting,two Congress ministers — HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju and Textile Minister K S Rao — were learnt to have strongly opposed the move. Sources said Rao even threatened to resign from the Cabinet. According to a PTI report,Raju also offered to resign.

Related: Jagan calls for 72-hour bandh

At least three Congress MPs — A Sai Prathap (Rajampet),Anantha Venkatarami Reddy (Anantapur) and Vundavalli Arun Kumar (Rajahmundry) — also resigned from the party. The trio had resigned from the Lok Sabha in August,but their resignations are yet to be accepted.

Related: BJP accuses Cong of clumsy handling of Telangana

Sources said Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram is likely to head the GoM,with Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal,Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath,Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat and Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia among the other members.

The GoM is expected to work out the modalities for provision of special financial disbursements required for setting up a new capital for Seemandhra and to meet the special needs of the backward regions and districts of the two states. The panel will be asked to submit its report in a time-bound manner,preferably within six weeks,after which the home ministry will draft a Bill for creation of the new states,as per the recommendations of the GoM.

Meanwhile,sources said a visibly upset Rao,who spoke for almost 40 minutes at the Cabinet meeting,sought further consultations before a final decision. He left for Hyderabad immediately after the Cabinet meeting. “While Rao was very upset,Pallam Raju allowed Jaipal Reddy,a strong votary of Telangana,to cajole him into accepting the Cabinet decision,” said a source.

Amid Rao’s emotional outburst,Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh is learnt to have demanded creation of Harit Pradesh,while Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar clarified that Maharashtra Assembly had not passed any resolution in favour of a separate Vidarbha state.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Congress,as well as the UPA,had already taken a call on the creation of Telangana,so there was no need to delay it further.

Addressing the media later,Union Minister Jaipal Reddy said,“I am very happy. The people of Telangana have been demanding a separate state for the last 60 years and we are grateful to the UPA government as well as Congress party. I am hopeful that the Bill for creation of Telangana will be passed in the winter session.”

Today’s Cabinet decision comes two months after the CWC favoured creation of Telangana. “We had submitted our resignations from the Lok Sabha after the CWC decision. We made an appeal to the high command not to go forward with the decision. But they are very adamant. I have served the party for 35 years. I cannot be a slave to them,” said six-time MP A Sai Prathap.

Anantha Venkatarami Reddy said the high command had promised that the government would wait for the A K Antony committee — set up by the Congress to address the concerns of Seemandhra leaders — to submit its report before bringing the issue to the cabinet. “They broke that promise also. I have submitted my resignation from the primary membership of the party,” he said.

The MPs indicated that more resignations were likely to follow. Sources said MPs and ministers from Seemandhra region may meet here on Friday to decide the future course of action.

Fearing violents protests,the home ministry has beefed up security in Andhra Pradesh.

The new state of Telangana will include 10 of the 23 districts of undivided Andhra Pradesh — Adilabad,Karimnagar,Khammam,Mahaboobnagar,Medak,Nalgonda,Nizamabad,Rangareddy,Warangal and Hyderabad. According to the home ministry,the other option that was suggested was to make Hyderabad a union territory,on the lines of Chandigarh. However,this was opposed by both Telangana and Andhra leaders,after which the home ministry decided to stick to the CWC proposal on making Hyderabad a joint capital for 10 years.

Reacting to the Cabinet’s decision,the BJP said it has always supported the creation of a separate Telangana state.

The politics beneath ’T’ move

Shows intent; pushes Jagan,TDP,BJP to state where they stand. Cong hopes it’ll confine TDP and Jagan to 17 fewer LS seats than in united AP

Leaves little room for TRS to not merge with Congress after getting Telangana and Hyderabad; Cong hopes it’ll also bring poll dividends for it in Telangana

Ensures there’s no mega sweep (of united AP) by a non-Congress party. Congress also wants to put Jagan in his place,send signals to other ambitious state leaders that they’ll be checkmated too

Allows Congress to claim credit for fulfilling a “promise” that has been hanging fire since 1956. Hyderabad is physically and otherwise Telangana’s centre; couldn’t have gone anywhere else in any case

Puts focus on the new Seemandhra capital by making Hyderabad’s departure an inevitability. Coastal Andhra money can now go to Ongole or Vijaywada,etc.

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