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Telangana formation cleared, Hyderabad joint capital for 10 yrs

Less than 4 years after the UPA almost went back on its pledge to create Telangana, the Congress on Tuesday accepted one of the oldest demands in independent India for a separate state and asked the govt to split Andhra Pradesh. HT reports Poll:Does creating more states weaken India or strengthen it? | Telangana cleared, now deal with Gorkhaland and Bodoland | Ongole, the new capital of reconstituted Andhra?

india Updated: Jan 30, 2014 15:07 IST
HT correspondent
HT correspondent
Hindustan Times
Telangana,Andhra Pradesh,Rayalaseema

Less than four years after the UPA almost went back on its pledge to create Telangana, the Congress on Tuesday accepted one of the oldest demands in independent India for a separate state and asked the government to split Andhra Pradesh.

The new state – that culminates a bloody agitation that cost hundreds of lives -- will have 10 districts including the city of Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana will, however, have to share Hyderabad as a joint capital for 10 years.

Tuesday’s decision by the Congress Working Committee is the first step forward after the midnight dramatic announcement by former home minister P Chidambaram on 9 December 2009 promising to start the process. The Congress, however, developed cold feet.

As it ended the uncertainty on Tuesday with what could be a political masterstroke to check-mate its opponents ahead of the 2014 general elections, the developments went according to the script.

The UPA coordination committee first unanimously endorsed the move to divide Andhra Pradesh and the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision making body of the party, followed it up by unanimously passing a resolution, requesting the central government to “take steps in accordance with the Constitution of India to form a separate state of Telangana”.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi opened the meeting giving historical perspective of the issue. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh endorsed Gandhi’s views and said the move will help in the equitable development of all the regions of the state. Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who as party general held the charge of the state for more than two years, and his successor Digvijaya Singh gave details about their interactions at state and central levels.

Only three other CWC members spoke at the meeting. Mukul Wasnik raised the issue of Vidarbha, which is also one of the long-pending demands. His views were endorsed by his Maharashtra colleague Gurudas Kamat. Ambika Soni too spoke about her experiences in AP as in-charge general secretary.

The formation of Telangana will take some time but the bill to create the new state is expected to reach parliament in next 4-5 months, probably in winter session.

Read More: Ongole, the capital of reconstituted Andhra Pradesh?

But the decision has not been smooth. The issue had vertically divided the Congress both in the state and the Centre and even security and intelligence agencies had raised concerns over the proposed move.

When it appeared that the Congress was reconciled to put the Telangana issue on the back-burner to give itself a breathing space till the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the party sprang a surprise a few months ago by stepping up its discreet preparation.

The top leadership came to the conclusion that Telangana is “emotionally disintegrated” and “only division could save” the party in the 2014 polls.

PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi during the CWC meeting on Telangana in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Sunil Saxena)

Till then, the broader thinking in the Congress was that the party stands to lose in the Telangana region even if it announced a separate state, but would gain in Andhra and Rayalseema parts of the state if it rejected or even delayed a decision.

Hyderabad, considered the crowning jewel of the Telangana region, will be the joint capital of the newly-proposed state and the other regions--Rayalaseema and Andhra--for a period of 10 years. A new capital for Andhra will be identified Seemandhra region within this period.

"It is resolved to request the Central government to take steps in accordance with the Constitution to form a separate state of Telangana within a definite timeframe," said a resolution passed at an hour-long meeting of the CWC.

The CWC meet followed a meeting of the UPA which also unanimously favoured formation of Telangana.

The CWC acknowledged that it "has not been an easy decision" but it was taken after the widest possible consultations and taking into account the chequered history of the demand for a separate state.

The decisions by the CWC and the UPA came after hectic consultations for the last over a week on creation of the 29th state of the country that will have a geographical area of 10 of the 23 districts of undivided Andhra Pradesh.

The Union Cabinet will meet on Thursday, apparently to consider formation of a Group of Ministers to go into economic issues on creation of the new state.

Students of Osmania University celebrate with a cake after Congress working committe and UPA endorsed the creation of a new state 'Telangana' in Hyderabad on July 30, 2013. (AP Photo)

This is the first decision of the UPA to form a new state in the last nine years.

Contrary to speculation that the new state could be named Rayala Telangana, including a couple of districts of Rayalaseema, the districts that will be part of the new state will be Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Mahaboobnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy and Warangal besides Hyderabad.

At the moment the idea is to have 10 districts in Telangana but it will be for the Group of Ministers to consider demands for inclusion of more areas, AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh, incharge of Andhra Pradesh affairs in Congress, told a press conference after the CWC meeting.

Out of 42 Lok Sabha seats and 294 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana is likely to have 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 Assembly seats.

Read More:Probable CM candidates in Telangana

The party, however, made it clear that no demand for creation of any other state would be considered as it emphasised that this case cannot be compared with any other.

This assertion comes against the backdrop of demands for creation of separate states of Vidarbha and Gorkhaland.

While TRS, which has been spearheading the demand for separate state, welcomed the decision, supporters of united Andhra Pradesh stepped up protests against division.

At the CWC meeting, the Prime Minister said the decision would help the entire Andhra region.

UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi gave a historical perspective on the issue to the CWC meeting in which Digvijay Singh moved the resolution.

It was adopted unanimously.

Like last week end, when indications emerged that the Congress was veering towards formation of Telangana, ministers and MPs belonging to the non-Telangana regions made last ditch efforts to convince the Congress President and the Prime Minister to have a rethink on the issue.

Andhra state, the first entity formed on linguistic basis, was created in 1953 from out of the erstwhile Madras Presidency with Kurnool as the capital.

News analysis:What next for Congress after Andhra-Telangana divorce?

With the passing of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, there was a merger of Hyderabad state and Andhra state to be called Andhra Pradesh from November 1, 1956.

Andhra Pradesh now has a population of over 8.5 crore.

The 2009 announcement, taken at the height of an indefinite fast by TRS leader K Chandrashekhar Rao, had ignited street protests in the non-Telangana regions and opposition from ministers, MLAs and leaders from within the party that forced the central government and the Congress leadreship to put the issue on hold.

The Centre held rounds of meetings with all parties from the state and set up a Commission under the chairmanship for Supreme Court Judge Justice Srikrishna, which had given a report suggesting various solutions.

Chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who was opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh and was said to be thinking in terms of resigning, was called for consultations. He attended the UPA meeting.

However, he dismissed reports of resignation as "rumours". Similarly, Congress ministers in the Union government and the MPs gave enough indications that they would follow the party line.

Read More:Political reactions on creation of Telangana


As the country waited for the UPA to decide on the creation of Telangana, ran a poll asking readers if creating more states weaken India or strengthen it. 67% of the respondents agreed saying creating more states will weaken the unity of the country. On the other hand, 26% of those who voted said that it will strengthen the nation. However, the rest 7% of them remained undecided.

Congress' press conference on Telangana:

What Ajay Maken said:

# Congress resolution requested govt to take steps for formation of Telangana

# Hyderabad will be the common capital of Telangana and Andhra for 10 years

# Congress decision to allow Telangana was difficult

# Resolution asks Centre to assist Andhra govt to maintain harmony in both states

What Digvijaya Singh, Congress general secretary in charge of Andhra, said:

# After 10 years, Seemandhra will have a new capital city in place

# All problems of Seemandhra will be kept in mind when we draft the legislation for formation of Telangana

# Cabinet will appoint group of ministers to address the issues of people of Andhra and Telangana

# The Govt of India will now refer the issue to state assembly of Andhra for an appropriate resolution

# Hyderabad will be the common capital of both the states for a period of 10 year

# We have kept in mind security, water issues while taking the decision on Telangana

# We have passed resolution on Telangana keeping in mind the problems that Seemandhra people might face

# We have reached decision on Telangana after much debate

# The decision on the Telangana resolution was difficult

# Andhra state assembly has to send resolution after either accepting or rejecting it

# Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha has to pass Telangana bill after which President has to pass bill

# We cannot compare Telangana to other demands for separate states. It has a different history

# Hyderabad has adequate arrangement for both the states to run their affairs for next 10 years

# Telangana was given a nod because of long standing demand, not for political reasons

# Cabinet will appoint group of ministers to address the issues of people of Andhra and Telangana

# Telangana was given a nod because of long standing demand, not for political reasons

# Formation of Telangana state will take four to five months

# TRS leaders have always said that they will merge their party with Congress after Telangana nod

BJP demands bill on Telangana during Monsoon session

The BJP has charged the Congress with "dilly-dallying" on the issue and demanded that the UPA dispensation not just make an announcement but bring a bill on it in the monsoon session of Parliament.

"There has been a demand for giving statehood to Telangana with Hyderabad as the capital and an integral part of the state but Congress has been dilly-dallying on the issue. We do not know what it is going to do. Congress has betrayed the people of the region for the last 56 years," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

Not quitting, says Reddy

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kirankumar Reddy has dismissed as "rumour" reports that he has threatened to quit if the Congress gives its nod for formation of a separate Telangana.

"It's all rumour," he told reporters when asked about the reports.

Reddy, who hails from Rayalaseema region, is said to be strongly opposed to the division of the state.

'Why Telangana report was not discussed in Parliament'

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has questioned why the Union government did not table the Srikrishna Committee's report on Telengana before the Parliament for discussion.

Srikrishna Committee on Telangana or the Committee for Consultations on the Situation in Andhra Pradesh (CCSAP) was a committee headed by former chief justice BN Srikrishna to look into the demand for separate statehood for Telangana or whether to keep Andhra Pradesh united in its present form.

TDP MLA Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao, who is also the party's Krishna district president demanded that the union government reveal the status of the report.

What's Telangana about:

1. Telangana would be the 29th state of Independent India.

2. The Telangana region comprises 10 districts: Hyderabad, Adilabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, and Warangal.

3. Apart from Telangana, Andra Pradesh consists of two other parts namely Coastal Andra and Rayalaseema.

4. According to sources, violence that came along with the Telangana merger demand has consumed more than 1000 lives over last three years, which includes numerous cases of self immolation.

5. The sharing of the capital city Hyderabad had long been the bone of contention in the separation struggle.

6. Pro-Telangana people put forward a notion that 45% of the state income comes from Telangana but when it comes to utilization of funds, its share is only 28%.

7. Proponents of a separate Telangana state cite perceived injustices in the distribution of water, budget allocations, and jobs.

"Hover over" the image for Telangana Statistics

Read more:United India? Telangana just one of many demands

Read more:Students take out rally to protest proposed AP bifurcation

Telangana Timeline

(With inputs from HT, agencies)

First Published: Jul 30, 2013 17:24 IST