Ministers and legislators from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions on Friday reacted strongly to union Home Secretary GK Pillai's statement that the process of formation of Telangana state would continue and that Hyderabad would be the capital of the new state.
Cutting across party lines, the legislators from the two regions and others who are opposing division of Andhra Pradesh said Pillai's remarks were "provocative".
Ministers K Parthasarathi and P Satyanarayana took a strong exception to Pillai making the statement when the people in two regions of Andhra Pradesh were strongly opposing the bifurcation of the state.
"It is unfortunate that a senior official whose job is to maintain law and order is making provocative statements," said Parthasarathi.
Government whip Sailajanath also condemned the home secretary's statement. "This will add fuel to fire," said Sailajanath, who is among 76 Congress legislators who submitted their resignations to the assembly speaker to protest the centre's announcement to carve out a separate state of Telangana.
"If the home secretary is capable of giving separate Telangana, let him give it and we can sort out other issues subsequently," was how Congress MP K. Sambasiva Rao reacted in Delhi. Rao is leading the group of Congress MPs from the two regions in opposing bifurcation of the state.
Talking to reporters in Jammu, Pillai earlier in the day said that the process for formation of Telangana state would continue. "I think Hyderabad will always be the capital of Telangana," he added.
There have been demands from some quarters that Hyderabad, a information technology hub, be granted the status of union territory if Telangana state is formed.
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which is spearheading the movement for Telangana, has warned of civil war if Hyderabad was not made capital of the Telangana state.
"There is no need for any doubts. Hyderabad had been an integral part of Telangana for 400 years and will be the capital of Telangana state," TRS legislator K Tarakarama Rao said.