Thursday, December 05, 2013

India's federal cabinet clears draft bill for new Telengana state

A representative map of the proposed bifurcation of AP (Pic: IBNLive)
NEW DELHI (AA) - India’s federal cabinet has cleared the draft bill for the formation of a new South Indian state ‘Telengana’ to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh (AP) state, thus rejecting the proposal to include two more districts as against the original idea of 10 districts.
Several regional and national political parties had opposed the proposal to include two more districts into the newly-proposed state of Telengana.
Right-wing BJP, India’s main opposition party, andTelengana’s regional party TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) had warned the ruling Congress party that they would severely oppose the extension of the proposed state.
NDTV, an English language news channel, reported that federal government’s decision was because of an ‘opinion exit poll’ which predicted a BJP victory in four of the five state elections whose decision will be declared on Sunday December 8.
Sources in federal government told Anadolu Agency that though the Telengana draft bill does not figure in the agenda of Parliament’s ongoing Winter Session (which began today) but assurance is being given that it can be expedited by the government. 
Earlier on Thursday, a massive strike and agitation was called by TRS leader Chandrasekhara Rao inTelengana region against the proposal of extending the proposed boundary of Telengana.
On Tuesday December 3, 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. 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.
If the proposal of two additional districts had been accepted, the state of Andhra Pradesh would have been equally divided, each part getting 21 Lok Sabha (lower house of the Indian Parliament) seats and 147 seats in state legislative assembly.
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.

- Long struggle
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.
Anadolu Agency, December 5, 2013

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