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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Telangana erupts in joy as India gets a new state

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 21, 2014
First Published: 11:47 IST(21/2/2014) | Last Updated: 11:55 IST(21/2/2014)

The people of Telangana celebrated with crackers and distributed sweets after Parliament on Thursday cleared the formation of India's 29th state, with Rajya Sabha passing the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Bill amid chaos and din.

The state of Telangana will finally see the light of the day as soon as the President gives his assent and signs the bill to make it a law. Lok Sabha had already given its nod on Tuesday.

CNN IBN reported that Seemandhara lawyers move move the Supreme Court against the creation of a separate state.

The Telangana supporters danced in the streets, burst crackers, splashed colours and distributed sweets in Hyderabad, Warangal, Karimnagar and other towns. Throngs of people visited the Telangana martyrs' memorial in Hyderabad.

Read: Andhra Pradesh's formal split to happen at break-neck speed

There were scenes of jubilation outside Parliament as well with pro-Telangana MPs celebrating by distributing sweets and raising slogans.

Union minister S Jaipal Reddy and MP Hanumantha Rao gathered at the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi's statue, congratulating Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the creation of the new state.

"The credit for this outstanding moment only goes to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and nobody else. BJP can say, we also voted. We all know, how reluctantly, how dividely they voted," Reddy told reporters.

"Sonia Gandhi took tremendous risk, paid tremendous price by endangering her popularity, her base in Seemandhra region," he said.

He said that he was prepared to sit across the table to convince reasonable Seemandhra people how they would gain and not lose on account of this division and other concessions.

Read: RS gives nod, Telangana set to become 29th state

Rao, on the other hand, was seen distributing sweets among MPs and waiting mediapersons.

Chants of "Jai Telangana" were heard from different gates of Parliament as members emerged from Rajya Sabha.

Deals and negotiations
Sweetening the deal for the Seemandhra region, which has vociferously protested the state's bifurcation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a mega financial package for it.

His six-point assurance includes special category status for five years that will provide easy funds for infrastructure building, a tax holiday to woo industries, a development scheme for backward areas and support to the Pollavaram irrigation project.

He added that there would be enough time between the date of notification and actual day of state formation to ensure smooth transition of personnel and resources. He also promised that the resource gap for Seemandhra (comprising coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema) in its first year would be compensated in the regular union Budget for 2014-15.

After a hard bargain, the UPA and the BJP reached an understanding on Thursday whereby the opposition would not insist on further amending the Telangana bill passed by Lok Sabha.

Read: No match-fixing with Cong on Telangana Bill, says BJP

In a reciprocal gesture, the PM would address the concerns of members from Seemandhra. Any fresh amendment would have brought the legislation back to Lok Sabha and landed the government in a tight spot with just a day to go for the current winter session to end.

"The good cause of creating a new state got a bad name due to the government's handling of the issue," said leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley.

He criticised the UPA for waiting till the very last minute to fulfill the demands of Seemandhra and raised questions about giving the governor sweeping powers without bringing in a constitutional amendment.

Read: Hyderabad city largely indifferent over split

While there was barely any debate on the matter in Lok Sabha, the Upper House saw a lengthy discussion even as Trinamool Congress and Telugu Desam Party members tried to create a ruckus by tearing paper and throwing the pieces at the PM during his intervention. The AIADMK staged a walk out.

(With PTI inputs)

Full coverage: The Telangana tangle


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