New Delhi, 30 July (PTI): Brushing aside opposition after dithering for nearly four years, the Congress and the UPA coalition today unanimously endorsed creation of a separate Telangana state from out of Andhra Pradesh.
“It is resolved to request the Central government to make steps in accordance with the Constitution to form a separate state of Telangana ……within a definite timeframe,” said a resolution of the Congress Working Committee, the highest policy-making body of the party, after over an hour-long meeting.
The Congress also decided to recommend to the government that Hyderabad be made the joint capital of the newly-proposed state and the other regions–Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra–for a period of 10 years.
The momentous 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.
Today’s decision also brings to fruition the announcement made by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram on December 9, 2009 for creation of Telangana.
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 Pradehs, Telangana is likely to have 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 Assembly seats.
At the CWC meeting, the Prime Minister said the decision to create a separate Telangana would help entire Andhra region.
Gandhi, who is also the UPA chairperson, 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 Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 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. 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.