‘It will have to walk a tightrope, confronted with hard bargaining by stakeholders’

The reconstituted Group of Ministers (GoM) on bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana will hold its first meeting on Friday, even as the Centre continues to monitor the situation in protest-hit Seemandhra districts, besides looking into restoring essential services including power supply in the region.

The high-power GoM, headed by Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and including five other most important ministers from the Congress in the UPA government, will focus on the demands and concerns raised by leaders and people of Telangana and Seemandhra at its brainstorming session. Apart from deciding on division of natural and other resources between the two regions, the GoM will have to ensure that the concerns of Seemandhra people at lack of social infrastructure are properly addressed.

“The government knows it will be a difficult task to satisfy people of both regions. It had to reconstitute the GoM to include senior Congress ministers who are known for their firefighting skills … All of them have been involved in the process of creation of Telangana in some way or the other. Under the current circumstances, the GoM will have to walk a tightrope as it will see a lot of hard bargaining by various stakeholders,” a senior Minister said.

Interestingly, one of the terms of reference of the GoM is to “examine any other matter that may arise on account of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and make suitable recommendations.”

The members of the GoM are A.K. Antony (Defence Minister) P. Chidambaram (Finance), Ghulam Nabi Azad (Health and Family Welfare), M. Veerappa Moily (Petroleum) and Jairam Ramesh (Rural Development), while Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office V. Narayanasamy is a ‘special invitee.’

Row over Naidu’s fast venue

As for the controversy over the fasting venue of Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu in Delhi, Mr. Shinde refused to get embroiled in it. The State government has sought the Union Home Ministry’s intervention in getting the Andhra Pradesh Bhawan premises, where Mr. Naidu is on fast, vacated.

“We have nothing to do with it. Ye unka mamla hai … Hume kya karna hai? (It is their matter. What do we have to do with it?)” Mr. Shinde told journalists here.

Andhra Pradesh Resident Commissioner Shashank Goel, after serving notice on the TDP chief, wrote to Union Home Secretary Anil Goswami seeking help from the Delhi Police to remove Mr. Naidu from the “unauthorised” fast venue.

‘Sabotage bid’

However, Mr. Naidu accused the Congress of trying to sabotage his movement. “I am a resident of Andhra Pradesh and this great country who has the right to protest. I will continue my hunger fast, wherever you put me. I am not bothered about my health or life. But the Congress would be responsible if anything happens,” he told journalists.