The fresh tug of war between Telangana and Seemandhra lobbies in Andhra Pradesh over the status of Hyderabad could jeopardise the government’s plan to place the proposal to carve out the new state before Parliament in the Winter Session.
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde had promised to bring the proposed law splitting Andhra Pradesh before Parliament by the Winter Session soon after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) passed a resolution to create Telangana on 30 July.
Shinde had set a four-month deadline for home ministry officials to complete the formalities, and not take six months as they had proposed. It was on this direction to compress the schedule that the ministry came up with a 122-day calendar for itself.
According to this schedule, the home ministry was to move the Union Cabinet to constitute a group of ministers to split the assets and liabilities of Andhra Pradesh within 7 days. That deadline expired four weeks ago.
But the ensuing debate over the status of Hyderabad – and the Congress’ oscillating stand on its future – has reopened a closed chapter.
“Hyderabad was a settled issue. There was no question of making it a union territory,” a home ministry official said, conceding this position had been “considerably diluted”.
Much of this change has happened due to the Congress’ anxiety to pacify Seemandhra leaders who are pushing for a UT status for Hyderabad.
In the worst case scenario, the politicians from Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra have told the four-member Congress panel headed by defence minister AK Antony, that Hyderabad’s status as the joint capital should be permanent, and not just 10 years as proposed by the CWC.
Telangana leaders, on the other hand, see Hyderabad as a way to fund the new state’s development, arguing that India’s IT capital would have no geographical contiguity with divided Andhra Pradesh
Caught in between, Shinde told reporters on Monday that the cabinet note to set up the GoM would take nearly three more weeks. This could mean that the Shinde would be able to complete the formalities only in early January.