Congress gives nod to Telangana; Hyderabad to be joint capital



Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: After dithering for nearly four years, the Congress and the UPA coalition on Tuesday 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.

At the CWC meeting, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the decision would help the entire Andhra region. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi gave a historical perspective on the issue to the CWC meeting in which Digvijay Singh moved the resolution. It was adopted unanimously.

Addressing the media, senior Congress leaders, Ajay Maken and Digvijay Singh formally announced the decision that was taken at the CWC meet.

"Centre will be asked to take steps for the creation of Telangana," Ajay Maken said. He added that Hyderabad would be the joint capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for ten years.

Maken further said, "The decision taken today was after wide deliberations. Concerns of all parties will be addressed." "CWC appeals to all Congressmen to give their support so that the formation of Telangana can be carried out in letter and spirit," he added.

On his part, Digvijay Singh said that the Centre will urge the Andhra Pradesh Assembly to adopt a resolution on creation of Telangana. The Assembly will have to accept or reject the resolution, Singh said, adding, however, that either way it will not be binding on the government of India.

He also said, "Political expediency can never be a reason for taking such a crucial decision." He was reacting to a query whether the decision was solely political. Digvijay Singh also categorically told the media, "It is a long standing demand... It has nothing to do with elections."

"Congress party solidly stands behind its decision," he further added.

The Congress leader said that the Congress had always supported the formation of Telangana. It was the BJP which was opposed to the formation of a new state.

"During NDA rule, LK Advani had said that they were not in favour of Telangana," Digvijay Singh told the media.

"As far as TRS is concerned, its leader have always said that once the new state is formed, they will merge their party with the Congress," he replied to a question on the future of TRS and said that the formation of Telangana will take 4-5 months.

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, Digvijay Singh, incharge of Andhra Pradesh affairs in Congress said.

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.

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 decision for the formation of a separate state was taken despite strong opposition from party leaders from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions to the formation of Telangana; they have warned the party of the problems that could follow the division.

In a last minute attempt to convince the party high command against bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Union Minister MM Pallam Raju met Sonia Gandhi. Talking to reporters later, Raju said, “We have expressed our concern, requested party high command to take a responsible decision.”

With PTI inputs