A new Telangana state may not come into existence any time soon.
Two days after the Centre initiated the process of turning the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh into a separate state, a groundswell of protests from other parts of Andhra and a louder chorus for new, smaller states across the country have forced a rethink on the issue.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured Parliament members from the coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions on Friday that no decision “will be taken in haste”, said Congress MP K.S. Rao, who led the delegation that met him.
The Andhra government was expected to bring a resolution for Telangana state in the assembly on Thursday. It did not happen. “There was no congenial atmosphere either to put it to motion or discuss it,” said Rao.
In Hyderabad, Chief Minister K. Rosaiah said there was no timeframe for moving the resolution. “I’ve been told by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram they would advise me at an appropriate time,” he said. “It cannot be done in a day. We have to secure a consensus.”
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi, whose leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s indefinite fast prompted the Centre to make the statehood announcement, did not make any official comment. “If I read the statements correctly, they want to drag the issue and delay the creation of Telangana,” said a TRS MLA, who did not want to be named.
Rosaiah’s comments came as a strike called to protest the Centre’s announcement on Telangana shut down large parts of Andhra Pradesh. Barring some incidents of violence and arson in Anantapur, Nellore and Visakhapatnam, however, the protests were peaceful.
More resignations followed on Friday. Cutting across party lines, dozens of Panchayat and Zilla Parishad members joined in. Assembly speaker Kiran Kumar Reddy said he received resignation letters from 131 MLAs — 76 from Congress, 40 from Telugu Desam Party and 15 from Praja Rajyam Party.
Rosaiah also revived a plan his predecessor, the late Y. Rajasekhara Reddy, unveiled in the assembly on February 12 this year — to constitute a committee of Andhra Pradesh legislators to consider the issue.
(With Nagendar Sharma in New Delhi)