The Centre on Thursday evening cleared the blueprint to carve Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh, brushing aside protests that reached the PM’s doors and voices of dissent from two central ministers from the southern state.
The development triggered a spate of resignations by anti-Telangana leaders from the Congress. By evening, tourism minister K Chiranjeevi and four MPs were reported to have put in their papers.
“More are going to resign,” said A Sai Prathap, who quit both the party and Lok Sabha. Congress leaders suggested they had anticipated this reaction.
At the cabinet meeting, textiles minister KS Rao and HRD minister MM Pallam Raju – both from Seemandhra – protested the decision.
The new state of Telangana will get the jewel in the crown, Hyderabad, but Seemandhra will be entitled to use the IT hub as its capital for 10 years till it builds its own, a government source said.
“Hyderabad will function as a common capital for both states for 10 years,” home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.
This is the formal first step taken by the government to create India’s 29th state after the July 30 resolution of the Congress Working Committee asking the government to accept the 45-year-old statehood demand.
The decision seems to have been driven by YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy’s surge in Seemandhra (coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema), which has already squeezed the Congress out of the region, leaving it with little choice but to consolidate its support base in Telangana — which sends 17 MPs to the Lok Sabha.
In an official statement, the Centre said it had constituted a group of ministers to work out the modalities and pledged to come up with measures to ensure the safety and security of residents “of all regions of the state, including the guarantee of fundamental rights”.
Soon after, the home ministry sent an advisory to the Andhra government to deploy adequate forces to handle anti-bifurcation protests.
Anti-Telangana protesters gathered outside the PM’s residence and broke the security barricade. They were bundled away by the police subsequently. Their counterparts in Hyderabad called for a 48-hour shutdown of the 13 districts that have been agitating since the Congress decision on July 30.
Pro-Telangana leaders, such as TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao, welcomed the decision. Pro-statehood Congress MLA Bhatti Vikramarka said, “This shows the Congress and our chief Sonia Gandhi commit to their word.”
Congress leaders suggested the UPA had already antagonised the pro-united Andhra lobby and could end up losing Telangana’s support too if it didn’t move fast enough.
It was this apprehension that guided the Congress hand away from according Hyderabad union territory status to balance out the anger against splitting Andhra.
(With inputs from agencies)
EDITORIAL: Cong's Telangana decision could prove problematic in the days to come
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READ: Anti-bifurcation groups call 48-hour bandh in Seemandhra
Factfile on Telangana