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Telangana to become the 29th state

Last Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 13:33

Hyderabad: The decision to carve out a
separate state of Telangana, which will take the total number
of states in the Union to 29, comes at the end of a 40-year-
old struggle for a distinct identity.

This comes after a gap of nine years when three new
states were carved out. Jharkhand split from Bihar on November
15, 2000 to become the 28th state while Uttarakhand split from
UP on November 9 and Chattisgarh was created on November one
the same year.

Andhra Pradesh has 23 districts, including the state
capital Hyderabad, in three regions – coastal Andhra (nine),
Rayalaseema (four) and Telangana (ten).

Since its inception in 2001, the Telangana Rashtra
Samiti (TRS) has been fighting for creation of a separate
Telangana state. Telangana region now accounts for 119 of
the 294 seats in the Assembly and 17 of the 42 Lok Sabha
members.

Telangan region comprises Hyderabad, Adilabad,
Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Medak, Warangal, Rangareddy, Nalgonda,
Khammam and Mahbubnagar.

The demand for a separate state began in 1969 but the
Congress then had stoutly opposed any move for additional
linguistic states.

Disillusioned by it, firebrand Congress leader M
Channa Reddy broke away and formed the Telangana Praja Samithi
(Telangan Popular Association) in 1969.

The first movement of a separate Telangana state
started met with a gory end in 1971.As a counter, the "Jai
Andhra" agitation was taken up in 1972-73.

BJP tried to spearhead the movement in 1998 but failed
to keep its promise as coalition partner Telugu Desam Party
opposed the move.

In 2004, Congress forged a pre-poll alliance with TRS
while promising to work for a separate Telangana. When TRS did
not see it fructifying, it withdrew support two years later.

Last year, TDP announced its support for Telangana.
The Centre`s nod came after TRS Chief K Chandrashekhar
Rao went on an indefinite fast-unto-death which he broke after
11 days yesterday amid heightened tensions in the state.

The Centre`s decision may fuel demands for separate
"Andhra", separate "Rayalaseema" and even a separate
"north-coastal Andhra".

Topping it all is the demand for making (Greater)
Hyderabad a Union Territory. The TRS has made it clear that
Hyderabad has to be part of Telangana.

Another demand is the creation of "Greater
Rayalaseema".Rayalaseema region comprises four districts:
Anantapur, Kadapa, Kurnool and Chittoor.It accounts for 52 of
the Assembly seats and 8 MPs.

Leaders of this region have now raised a demand for
including Sri Potti Sriramulu Nellore and Prakasam districts
in Rayalaseema, thereby making it a "Greater" state.

SPS Nellore and Prakasam districts are now part of
coastal Andhra, that stretches up to Srikakulam bordering
Orissa, along the Bay of Bengal coast.

People of north-coastal Andhra – which consists of
Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts – are
demanding that the three districts be formed into a separate
state in the event of bifurcating AP.

In the event of bifurcation, coastal Andhra will be
left with only four districts – Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari
and East Godavari. Now coastal Andhra has 123 MLAs and 17 MPs.

Since Hyderabad is well-developed, has a
cosmopolitan character and a "greater" stature with a
population touching nearly a crore, the general demand is for
converting it into a Union Territory like Chandigarh.

Interestingly, people of Rayalaseema or coastal Andhra
are strong proponents of an integrated Andhra Pradesh.

"Our demands are only subject to the formation of
Telangana state.Otherwise, we are for a unified AP," they
assert.

Political observers feel that the demand for
Rayalaseema, north-coastal Andhra or Andhra state is only to
"dilute" the Telangana demand.

Even the demand for UT status for Hyderabad is also a
similar ploy, they point out.

It is mostly the Congress leaders who are trying to
champion the cause of Rayalaseema, Andhra or north-coastal
Andhra.

PTI

First Published: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 13:33
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