Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Saturday that in future, the government wouldn’t like to accept demands for the creation of new states.
This statement came as 20 of the 34 ministers in the Andhra Pradesh government offered to resign in protest against the proposed Telangana state, prompting fears that the state may be heading for President’s Rule.
Chief Minister K. Rosaiah reportedly told the ministers he too would have to quit if they put in their papers, and asked them to wait while he takes up the matter with the party high command for a solution.
There appeared to be none till Saturday night. Telangana Rashtriya Samithi (TRS) leader K. Chandrasekhar Rao had earlier told NDTV: “The arrow has already left the bow. Nobody can stop (the formation of) Telangana now. And Hyderabad will have to be part of the new state.”
The crisis prompted Rosaiah to publicly express “astonishment, surprise and anguish” at the “flutter” over Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s “so-called statement” on Wednesday night announcing the initiation of the process to create Telangana.
Earlier, speaking to reporters in Kolkata, Mukherjee, the UPA’s chief trouble-shooter, said: “The Telangana movement has been going on for 60 years and the home minister has already made a statement on it. But it does not mean new states are going to be created everywhere.”
The political crisis in Andhra, brought about by the resignations of 139 of the 175 MLAs from coastal Andhra and Rayalseema — including 76 from the Congress — deepened further when all the ministers from these two regions threatened to resign.
Following a meeting at a Hyderabad hotel, Municipal Administration Minister Anam Ramnarayana Reddy told reporters: “We will be beaten up if we just sit and do nothing.” They are expected to send in their resignations on Monday.
The remaining 13 members of the state cabinet are from Telangana.
Assembly Speaker N. Kiran Kumar Reddy is yet to accept the MLAs’ resignations but he has to take a call on Monday when assembly reopens. There were rumours that the House may be adjourned sine die on Monday.
Meanwhile, Rao told the TV channel that there was no question of Hyderabad being made a Union Territory on the lines of Chandigarh.
“Geographically, Hyderabad is at least 200 km from coastal Andhra. Does it make any sense (to make the city the capital of a state located so far away)?” he asked.
He blamed “vested interests” and those with benami land holdings and other investments in Hyderabad for orchestrating the protests against Telangana. “It is an artificial agitation,” he said.
He said he was “grateful to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for her initiative” and said he would shortly be leaving for Delhi for talks with her and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.