Following the announcement Telangana’s formation, the Congress’s Andhra Pradesh-in–charge Digvijaya Singh said it was time that K Chandrasekhar Rao of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi honoured his commitment regarding a merger with the Congress.
Rao, however, said it was too early to discuss the issue, and the matter would be considered.
Rao’s son K T Rama Rao, a TRS leader, said they were open to a working relationship with the Congress. “Give us some time, and we will work out the modalities and take the next step,” he said in this interview with Vicky Nanjappa.
Can you trust the Congress now, considering they finally made the announcement on demerging Telangana from Andhra Pradesh?
We have always maintained that the Congress will be trusted only once they pass the bill in Parliament. We are optimistic but cautious. Let us wait and see what happens. I would however like to add here that Congress president Sonia Gandhi, also the chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance, played a very important role in all this.
She was the one who was instrumental in preponing the UPA and the Congress Working Committee meetings. Once she made it clear everything started moving in the right direction. Otherwise, the meeting was supposed to be held in the first week of August. If she continues to be resolute regarding the issue, she can ensure that the bill will be passed in Parliament as well.
It is suggested that Hyderabad will be the common capital for 10 years. Are you fine with that?
First, we need to understand the definition of common capital. Does sharing the capital mean that the Telangana government gets to administer it and the Seema-Andhra people use it as an interim capital?
We are fine with it if the Telangana government administers Hyderabad and they use it as an interim capital until they are able to build their own. Let us not forget that we have lived with them for 60 years now.
The crucial question for the TRS today is a merger with the Congress. The Congress has reminded your father about the promise that was made regarding the merger.
We remember that promise. We are open to the possibility of a working association with the Congress. However, what I must remind the Congress is that this will be possible only after the bill is passed in both houses of Parliament. After this is done the issue will be discussed and we will take it forward.
How do you see the people of Telangana benefiting from this de-merger?
The political and bureaucratic power and the number of jobs and opportunities would go in favour of the people of Telangana and they would get the lion’s share. All the natural resources in Telangana would automatically be tapped and their potential would by default go the people of the region.
The benefits of a new state being created would boost enthusiasm among the youth who constitute 65 per cent of the region. This power will be channelised which would contribute to accelerated development of the region.
Hyderabad being the economic engine, would see a lot more activity with regard to real estate and other services. We would have more avenues. Hyderabad, which has always been cosmopolitan, has become a home for many communities.
After Telangana, the biggest change would happen culturally. The entire Telangana issue is about the assertion of identity. Like how former Chief Minister N T Ramarao created a Telugu identity, the same would happen once Telangana is formed. Telangana’s heritage will be asserted like never before after the formation of the state.