As the Union government on Monday continued wide consultations on fine-tuning the contours of Telangana, a senior Union Minister said the Bill to create a new State out of Andhra Pradesh was ready and would be cleared by the Group of Ministers (GoM), which will meet on Tuesday evening.
However, the Minister, who did not wish to be named, said “no comments,” when asked about the Rayala-Telangana issue.
Highly placed government sources said “very wide consultations” were held to work out the finer details of how to go about the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. The Minister did not comment whether Kurnool and Anantapur, the two districts of Rayalaseema, would be added to the 10 districts that form Telangana to constitute a Rayala-Telangana State.
“You will have to wait for the recommendations of the GoM, which will submit its report to the Union Cabinet,” the sources said.
On the eve of the meeting, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh held marathon consultations with Secretaries who assisted the GoM. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde attended a meeting that went into the finer details.
The GoM will send the final report to the Union Cabinet for consideration and approval of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill. Once it is approved, the Bill will be forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee. He, in turn, will refer it to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly. However, the Assembly’s approval is not mandatory for the Centre to introduce the Bill in Parliament.
The senior Union Minister told The Hindu that the proposal for inclusion of two districts from Rayalaseema in the proposed Telangana was not without issues. “Had the proposal been cleared by the Congress Working Committee in its July 30 resolution in favour of the creation of Telangana, we could have pushed through the idea without difficulty; bringing it up at this stage could lead to complications. We are not sure if the proposal would have the approval of the BJP, because without its support we cannot get the Constitution Amendment Bill through both Houses of Parliament.”
Speaking on informal terms, a senior BJP leader indicated that any major deviation in the creation of Telangana would entail a rethink by the party. As things stand now, the BJP is committed to creation of Telangana, without Anantpur and Kurnool districts.
According to another Union Minister, sections of Seemandhra are not averse to inclusion of the two districts in the proposed State as it would automatically disqualify Kurnool as a possible capital of Seemandhra. “If the Centre decides to include two more districts of Rayalaseema in the proposed State of Telangana, the fate of the Bill is likely to be decided only in Parliament. The BJP might insist on moving a resolution, excluding the two districts, and as a bargaining point the government could accept it.”
The issue of Hyderabad remains contentious, as Seemandhra leaders are demanding protection for the lives and property of their people settled in Hyderabad after the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the government has said it will try to bring the Bill in the winter session of Parliament, which will be held from December 5 to 20.