The Centre is reconsidering a move it had made earlier last week to make Hyderabad a Union Territory, under pressure from Telangana leaders.
Although the Centre is determined to go ahead with the process of bifurcation of the State, the mention of UT status for Hyderabad, reportedly in the Home Ministry’s Cabinet note, led to strong opposition from the Telangana leaders.
Union Home Minister S. K. Shinde’s statement on Saturday that the first stage of process of division was over and that the Centre would soon proceed with the remaining work only shows the leadership’s resolve to go ahead. Mr. Shinde, quite significantly, clarified that there was no proposal to make Hyderabad a UT and that the Centre was mulling two or three options.
Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy, APCC coordination committee member Md. Ali Shabbir and others are said to have taken up the issue with the Antony Committee and prevailed upon other central leaders against the move to make Hyderabad a Union Territory. MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi too voiced his vehement opposition to the proposal prompting the Home Ministry to hastily drop it.
Highly placed sources, who were privy to these parleys, told The Hindu that Telangana leaders got a tip off about the proposal after Home Ministry officials prepared a note.
It was pointed out that Mr. Antony and AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh did not take kindly to the proposal and spoke to the Union Home Minister. They sought to know how the proposal found its way into the Cabinet note when the CWC resolution did not mention it. A senior Congress leader said that the high command was taking stock of the prevailing political situation in the State and holding consultations with the Seemandhra Ministers. In the last few days, half a dozen Seemandhra Ministers have met Central leaders. They reportedly promised to abide by whatever decision the central leadership took on division.
Leaders point out that there appears to be division among the Seemandhra Ministers, with one section taking the line that they should not defy the high command. The central leadership is said to be wary of the moves of Chief Minister N.Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has become more vocal with each passing day on his opposition to division.