The CWC and the UPA Coordination Committee has endorsed the formation of Telangana. What happens now, what is the game plan of Congress?
The Government of India will refer the issue to the state assembly of Andhra Pradesh which will send an appropriate resolution to the central government. This will go to the cabinet which will form a GoM to look into the modalities. After which the law ministry will draft a bill which will go to the state assembly which will send another resolution. This resolution will be approved by the central government and will be forwarded to the President. The President will forward it to Parliament where it will be passed with simple majority and then it will be returned to the President.
What is the reason that the Congress, which was initially very reluctant on the formation of Telangana, agreed to play ball this time? Isn’t the decision taken by the Congress party purely political expediency, just for the electoral gain?
There is no political expediency on the part of Congress. It does not take such far reaching decisions on the basis of political gains. Telangana has been a long standing demand of the people of Telangana. When our late Chief Minister YSR Reddy was leader of opposition in the Andhra Assembly, he and Congress MLAs from the state had requested the Congress leadership for a separate state of Telangana. The Congress leadership had formed a committee under the leadership of Pranab Mukherjee to look into these demands.
The BJP says that the Congress has come up with the formation of the state too late …
The BJP is a master of doublespeak. In 2001 their MP A Narendra had written to the then Home Minister LK Advani for a separate state of Telangana. Advani Ji replied back by saying that it is not possible to have Telangana. When they were in power they were against Telangana and now they are all for it.
There were major divisions within the Congress party on the Telangana issue. Your own ministers opposed it vehemently. Don’t you think that it won’t be a smooth sailing for the Congress party in 2014?
The resolution by the CWC was a difficult one. We reached this conclusion after extensive debate and discussion with all stakeholders. All issues of Seemandhra will be kept in mind by the party and the government when the division takes place. There was no division within the CWC. All stakeholders will respect the decision of the party.
One of the most contentious issue is the position of Hyderabad. What happens to Hyderabad now and do you think you will be able to ensure smooth division of Hyderabad in the midst of flared up emotions?
Hyderabad will remain as a joint capital for both the states for ten years. In the mean time, Andhra will find a place where a new capital will be built. The centre will ensure that all possible help is given for the capital to come up. Legitimate aspirations of the people have to be respected. All divisions regarding water and power will be done fairly.
Don’t you think that the creation of Telangana has opened up a Pandora’s Box for the government. Demands for other smaller states have also started coming up. What will the Congress party do now?
Telangana should not be compared to other states as this is an old demand. Even the first state reorganisation commission had this demand. Agitations have been going on, there were lot of protests in Osmania University also. About a thousand people have lost their lives in this agitation.
The TRS has said that it will merge with the Congress if Telangana is made. What is the status now?
The TRS Chief had stated this in public, you can speak to him about this. We will favorably look at the proposal from TRS if it comes in now.