Hyderabad, the city which is the bone of contention between Telangana and the rest of Andhra Pradesh in the proposed bifurcation of the state, belongs to all Indians and not to any region in particular, Union Minister S Jaipal Reddy has said.
"Constitutionally, Hyderabad is an Indian city. Like Bengaluru and Chennai, it has now become an international city, if we look at the business angle. For centuries, people from all parts of the country have been staying in Hyderabad," Reddy, the Union Science and Technology Minister, told a press conference in Hyderabad on Saturday evening.
"Hyderabad does not belong to either Telangana or to Seemandhra. It's certainly not Telangana's own property. All Indians constitutionally have an equal right over Hyderabad," he said.
Jaipal noted that people from Telangana districts like Adilabad, Karimnagar and Nizamabad go to Mumbai looking for employment.
"People go from Anantapuram to Bengaluru and from Chittoor to Chennai for jobs. Likewise, anyone from anywhere can come to Hyderabad.
"In fact, more people can come to Hyderabad in the future and not only the current residents," he said.
"As a former Union Minister for Urban Development, I regret that all development was concentrated only in Hyderabad. That's because urbanisation is slow in India. In fact, we need to develop more cities like Hyderabad.
"Once Telangana is created, Warangal, too, needs to be developed like Hyderabad," he added.
As to the sharing of river waters, another contentious issue, Jaipal said that the Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar dams on the Krishna would become inter-state reservoirs following the proposed bifurcation.
"They have to be managed by inter-state tribunals, whose powers are above that of state governments. Their (tribunals') writ will run," Jaipal said.
"These are not problems that have no solution," he said, but refused to comment on Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy's contention that such problems "can never be resolved".
The Union Minister said he loved cities with a seafront and would like to settle in a place like Visakhapatnam after retiring from politics.
"I want to buy a flat in Vizag or Mumbai and spend my post-retirement life (there)," he said.
On the allegation that Congress did not follow democratic norms on the bifurcation by overruling the majority will, he said: "Which majority will should we consider? If we talk of things like majority and its definition, it will be an unending Ramayana."
Talking about the allegations that consideration of political gains for Congress weighed more when it took the decision on bifurcation, Jaipal maintained that he was here only to "make an appeal to the Seemaandhra people and not talk about Congress politics".
As to what fate would befall the Congress in 2014, which rode to power at the Centre mainly because of the highest number of MPs from AP in 2004 and 2009, given the current political scenario in the state, he said: "I will not comment on the 2014 elections. I will also not make any forecast."
Asked if he would remain in national politics or return to the state in 2014, after creation of Telangana, Jaipal said: "I have been in Janata Party for over 22 years. That was a one-man party. So, I don't think about my personal issues beyond a point."
On the possible merger of Telangana Rashtra Samiti with Congress, he said the high command would take a call on it.