Will Hyderabad get union territory status?
Hyderabad: As the central government initiates the process to form Telangana state, all eyes are on this technology hub with demands coming from some quarters to make it a union territory.
A section of leaders of the ruling Congress and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) want Greater Hyderabad to become a union territory in view of the large number of "settlers" from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions and other parts of the country.
However, those fighting for Telangana said a separate state without Hyderabad is not acceptable to them.
Two state ministers from Hyderabad wrote a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday seeking union territory status for the city.
"There is a clamour among the people of Hyderabad, cutting across caste, religion, language and caste barriers, to get Union Territory status for their city, so as to preserve its cosmopolitan character and to accelerate its growth as an IT hub, bio-tech, pharma and other emerging technologies," Danam Nagender and Mukesh Goud wrote in their letter, which was signed by seven legislators from the city.
"The twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad also have a sizeable chunk of minorities and these sections entertain serious apprehensions about their future if Greater Hyderabad is made part of separate Telangana state," the ministers said.
Muslims constitute about 40 percent of Greater Hyderabad`s eight million population. Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), a powerful Muslim party here, had demanded separate identity for Hyderabad a few years ago but this time it has so far not spelt out its stand.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and other groups fighting for a separate state are furious over demands for union territory status to Hyderabad.
"What will remain in Telangana if you take out Hyderabad," asked revolutionary balladeer Gaddar.
Andhra Pradesh state Congress chief D Srinivas, who hails from Nizamabad district of Telangana, also feels that there can be no Telangana state without Hyderabad.
"Hyderabad had been part of Telangana for 400 years and it will be the capital of new Telangana state," he said.
Hyderabad, a fine blend of tradition and modernity dotted with minarets and gleaming high-rise structures, became Greater Hyderabad two years ago when the government merged surrounding municipalities and villages with it, making it the second biggest urban agglomerate after Delhi in terms of area.