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Telangana crisis: It all rests on a 'yes' or 'no'

Last updated on: October 4, 2011 21:32 IST

Telangana: It all rests on a 'yes' or 'no'

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A correspondent in Hyderabad

The UPA II government's next move rests on a 'yes' or 'no' to Telangana by the Congress core committee, which meets in Hyderabad on Friday to take a political decision on the issue that has created a crisis in Andhra Pradesh since the past three weeks.

Indications are that the committee will back creation of Telangana creation and leave it up to the government to work out the modalities. A Congress leader, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that Congress supreme Sonia Gandhi has already told the core committee in the meeting last week that the party cannot go back on its word to give a separate state to the people of Telangana.

Sonia reportedly cited the Congress commitment on Telangana in the party's poll manifesto in both 2004 and 2009 as also in the then President APJ Kalam's address to Parliament and the government's own commitment in Lok Sabha.

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Image: Congress supreme Sonia Gandhi with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

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Sources said Dr Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also consulted two former Chief Justices of India and two Governors, who were in support of the formation of a smaller state from the point of view of better administration.

The Home Ministry has prepared a status paper on 20 days of the Telangana agitation for consideration in Friday's committee meeting, while Home Minister P Chidambaram will provide further inputs in the meeting.

The committee, however, might have taken a call but the government's stance may be totally different, and is expected to be contradictory, said a source.

 "Why Telangana alone? We shall push for six other smaller states, the demand for which is pending with the Centre," a top Congress leader said, giving a perspective on the government's inclination to carve out a separate state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.

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Image: Home Minister P Chidambaram

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The new state, however, may not be possible in near future, if the government tags its creation with the demand for other states such as Vidarbha in Maharashtra and Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh.

The emerging government strategy is to hold further consultations with the political parties as also leaders from Andhra Pradesh, both supporting and opposition Telangana, and then convene an all-party meeting towards end of the month after Diwali for a consensus.

It may lob the idea of the smaller states' creation in this meeting and stress that this would take time as formalities such as resolutions from the concerned state assemblies are to be completed before the process can be set into motion.

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Image: Telangana NGOs and Telangana Gazetted Officers Association take out protest rally

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Sources said such a move will shield the government from the charge of acting under pressure of agitations as it can defer the piecemeal creation of Telangana until the process is completed for creating other smaller states.

Much more excitement in Congress is that once the Bharatiya Janata Party takes centre stage in Telangana, the communal card the party expected to play is causing immense concern -- both in the All India Congress Committee -- and also partly in Prime Minister's Office.

The BJP is bent upon creating hype and momentum on Telangana just to 'irritate' the AICC and the PMO," said a source.


Image: The BJP's flag
Photographs: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters
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