Parliament nod for Telangana

February 21, 2014 - 6:18:44 am
New Delhi/Hyderabad: Telangana is all set to born as the 29th state in India as the parliament yesterday gave its approval to the division of Andhra Pradesh, triggering celebrations across Telangana but gloom in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra.

Amid unprecedented bedlam, which forced Congress party members to form a protective ring before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he spoke, the Rajya Sabha passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill by voice vote.

Meeting the demands of opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and clearing the decks for the passage of the bill, the prime minister, whose speech was not inaudible among slogan-shouting by anti-Telangana MPs, announced a package for Seemandhra, as the two other regions are collectively called.

Members of Communist Party of India-Marxist and DMK walked out before the bill was passed. Shiv Sena, Trinamool Congress and Samajwadi Party were among the parties that opposed the bill.

The bill will now go to the president for his assent. The central government will then publish a gazette notification. With this, two states of Telugu-speaking people will come into existence.

The passing of the bill capped nearly five years of turbulence in the southern state and realised a nearly six-decade-old dream of the people of Telangana for a separate state.

Telangana state will comprise 10 districts — Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Medak, Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar, Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, Nizamabad and Adilabad. It will have a population of about 35 million.

Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, will be the common capital of both the states for 10 years.

The residuary state of Andhra Pradesh will have 13 districts and a population of over 50 million.

It is in fact a revival of statehood for Telangana, which existed as Hyderabad State from 1950 to 1956, when it was merged with Andhra State to form Andhra Pradesh, a state for Telugu-speaking people.

Telangana, a backward region, witnessed the first major movement for separate statehood in 1969, and it was revived with the formation of Telangana Rashtra Samithi in 2000.

In his intervention in the debate on the bill which was marked by several adjournments and slogan shouting by members opposed to the creation of the new state, Manmohan Singh sought to reach out to Seemandhra, announcing that a special status will be given for five years to the residual state of Andhra Pradesh.

Before the passage of the bill, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley said that there was need to amend the constitution on the proposal for powers to be given to the governor concerning law and order. However, the government did not accept his suggestion.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that the bill had been passed with the support of several parties.

The bill was passed after repeated adjournments and protests by members from Seemandhra region and following a deal between Congress and BJP.

The main opposition party, which moved no amendment in Lok Sabha, mooted some amendments but they were rejected by voice vote.

While the BJP fought for a fair deal for Seemandhra, the MPs of Congress and other parties from Seemandhra merely engaged in slogan-shouting.

K Chiranjeevi was the only minister from Seemandhra to speak on the bill. He suggested that Hyderabad be made a union territory for at least 10 years.

Earlier, Shinde tabled the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill amidst protests.

Some members opposed to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh walked towards Shinde in an effort to interrupt him but were stopped by MPs from the Congress and those favouring a separate Telangana state.