Cong finally gives in, Telangana on its way

published on December 9, 2009




Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

Resolution to be moved in Andhra Pradesh Assembly

TRS welcomes move but wants time-bound resolution

Deteriorating
health of TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao and the volatile situation in
Andhra Pradesh forced the Centre to blink and take the first step
towards formation of a separate State of Telangana. After a series of
meetings in New Delhi on Wednesday, the Centre announced that the State
Government will move a resolution in the Assembly for formation of
Telangana.

Without putting a time frame to the process, Home
Minister P Chidambaram said, in a late night statement, “The process of
formation of Telangana will be initiated. An appropriate resolution
will be moved in the Assembly. We have requested Andhra Pradesh Chief
Minister to withdraw the cases filed on or after November 29, 2009
against all the leaders, students and others associated with the
present agitation. The Chief Minister informed us that he would take
necessary steps. We are concerned about the health of K Chandrasekhar
Rao. We request him to withdraw his fast immediately. We request all,
especially the students, to withdraw their agitation to help restore
normalcy.”

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti welcomed the move but
said that it would want a time-bound assurance. After a resolution is
passed by the Assembly, the recommendation would be sent to the Union
Government.

The decision of the Centre came after a hectic day
of parleying which saw Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress
president Sonia Gandhi holding several rounds of meetings with senior
Ministers, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah and party MPs. What
really forced the Centre to give in was the involvement of students in
the agitation. Senior Ministers pointed to the Prime Minister that the
Centre should not allow the situation to turn into a Mandal-like
agitation. A senior Minister said, “The Government was worried about
the fallout of such a grave situation especially since it involved
young students.”

The Congress has been in a tight spot as
conceding demand for Telangana is expected to open Pandora’s box. The
issue has already driven a wedge in the Congress. About 16 MPs wrote to
Sonia demanding a separate State for Telangana. The party president
also received representations from Andhra Pradesh MPs that a separate
Telangana should mean a separate Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra
Pradesh. This could also lead to demands of smaller States of Vidarbha,
Bundelkhand, Harit Pradesh, Gorkhaland and Purvanchal. The Government
could be forced to take a view on it. So far, a strong presence of
former Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy, a known opponent of small
States like Telangana, had ensured that the demand does not resurface
as a strong agitation.

Another issue that is likely to occupy
the Government’s mind is that of State capital Hyderabad. The city is
in the heart of Telangana region. Sentiments could run high as
Telangana would insist on Hyderabad being the new State capital and
Andhra Pradesh would not want to let go of its cyber city. The
Government is mulling all options, some top leaders even suggesting
turning Hyderabad into a union territory like Chandigarh making it
capital of both Andhra Pradesh and newly-formed Telangana.

Parliament
expressed concern over the deteriorating condition of KCR and members
cutting across party lines sought Central intervention to end the
deadlock over a separate Telangana State. The BJP even forced
adjournment of the Rajya Sabha for a brief period pressing for
Government’s response on the issue.

Moreover, the Communist
Party of India, Telugu Desam Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal and a few more
parties joined the BJP in demanding a separate State. Some leaders also
demanded the Prime Minister to convene an all-party meeting to end the
deadlock.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V
Narayanasamy said the Telangana issue was “very sensitive” and the
Government was also applying its mind. “It is the wish of the entire
House that he regains good health soon,” Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar
said.

Leader of the Opposition LK Advani sought the
Government’s intervention. “My party colleague Venkaiah Naidu met Rao
last evening and felt his condition was deteriorating. The health of
Rao is as important as the issue of Telangana,” Advani said.

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