For the first time since P. Chidambaram, as Home Minister in 2009, announced the government’s willingness to create a separate State of Telangana, the Congress on Wednesday unambiguously said it was not opposed to the proposal at all. The only caveat: a decision would have to be preceded by the Andhra Pradesh Assembly passing a resolution in favour of division of the State.
“We are not against the formation of Telangana,” party spokesperson P.C. Chacko said, emphasising that “in the process of taking a decision, we are consulting all stakeholders. This is being done on a war-footing, and I am quite hopeful of an early solution.” The only obstacle, he acknowledged, was that there was a constitutional requirement that the Assembly first pass a resolution in its favour. Asked how the Congress expected such a resolution would be passed, given that the MLAs from the Andhra and Rayalseema regions, who outnumber those from Telangana, are opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Chacko said, “We are looking for conditions that will satisfy the majority.”
Though Mr. Chacko did not specify the “conditions” being discussed, he said they related to the status of Hyderabad, and addressing the problems of the various regions. Indeed, apart from Hyderabad, a key issue is the sharing of river waters among the three regions.
Mr. Chacko said “it was simply a matter of time before the announcement” came. But when asked whether that would be before the budget, he said he did not wish to set a deadline. Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, too, said on Wednesday, in reply to a question, that the matter “was in the process.”
Meanwhile, Congress MPs from Telangana, who had threatened to put in their resignations to protest against the Centre reneging on its announcement that it would take a decision by January 28, said they decided not to press the issue, after Mr. Chacko’s statement at the official party briefing. Nizamabad MP Madhu Goud Yaskhi, one of the MPs at the forefront of the agitation, said, “I don't think there is any need for resignation now. The statement by Chacko is clear.”