By Mubasshir Mushtaq
NEW DELHI, Dec 4 – Chandrasekhara Rao, head of regional separatist party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), has warned Congress Party-led coalition federal government that he will lead a massive agitation if a larger Telangana state is created than the one originally proposed in October 2013.
Rao, who championed the creation of Telangana state for years, told reporters that he is opposed to the proposal to include two additional districts in the proposed Telangana state.
On October 3, 2013, the federal government decided to create a new state by carving out a newly-proposed Telangana state out of the Andhra Pradesh (AP) state in South India.
AP consists of three regions: Telangana, Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra, also referred to as Seemandhra. Rayalaseema and Seemandhra are bitterly opposed to the state’s division.
According to the original proposal, the federal government had decided that Telangana would consist of 10 districts only. It is widely believed that the proposal to include two new districts into Telangana is being considered by the ad hoc Group of Ministers (GOM), which met today to finalize its report and draft bill on Telangana.
The GOM would meet again tomorrow as the process to finalize report and the draft bill proved inconclusive. GOM would then submit its report and draft bill to the federal cabinet to be introduced in the winter session of Indian Parliament which starts from Thursday, December 5.
Once the bill is passed in the Indian parliament, it will be sent to Indian President Pranab Mukherjee with the recommendation that he refer it to the AP’s assembly. The state assembly can provide feedback on the resolution but the federal government is not under any obligation to abide by it.
GOM was formed under the federal cabinet for the bifurcation of AP state. It is headed by Federal Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
“We will meet again tomorrow,” Federal Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters after the GOM meeting.
Meanwhile, Rao, the biggest supporter for the creation of new state, has called a state-wide strike in the Telangana region on Thursday to oppose the proposal to include two additional districts in the proposed state.
The two additional districts Kurnool and Anantpur have sizeable Muslim populations and are very close to Hyderabad city, which will remain the joint capital for the two states for 10 years.
Sources told Anadolu Agency that it is not clear whether a final decision on the proposal has been taken by the GOM.
If the proposal of two additional districts is accepted, the state of Andhra Pradesh would be equally divided, each part getting 21 Lok Sabha (lower house of the Indian Parliament) seats and 147 seats in state legislative assembly.
Telangana was originally part of a princely state of erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad.
A year after its independence in 1948, India put an end to the rule of Nizams and a Hyderabad state was formed.
In 1956, the Telangana part of Hyderabad was merged with the AP state.
The people from Telangana were against merger with AP fearing unemployment because the education levels and development in AP were better than in Telangana.
There were cultural differences as well.
The culture and language in Telangana bore influences of North India.
In 1969, the Telangana movement intensified under the leadership of Marri Chenna Reddy and the Telangana Praja Samithi.
There was widespread violence and over 350 protesters were killed in police firing.
However, the movement could not last long as Reddy went on to merge his party with the Congress Party and was eventually made chief minister by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The movement was revived again in 2001 when K Chandrasekhar Rao quit the Telugu Desam Party and formed the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for the formation of a Telangana state.
In 2004, the Congress Party joined hands with Rao, promising separate Telangana but later backtracked.
In 2009, Rao’s fast unto death forced then federal home minister P Chidambaram to announce the creation of a separate state of Telangana.
But the formation was delayed by the federal government of the time.