In the interim, Hyderabad may remain capital of Seemandhra, Telangana

The UPA government, after three and half years of procrastination over whether or not to divide Andhra Pradesh, now seems to be in fast-forward mode: it has summoned the UPA Coordination Committee for Tuesday to be followed immediately at 5.30 p.m. with a meeting of the Congress Working Committee that is likely to approve the creation of Telangana.

Aware that the announcement of the decision may trigger protests in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, the Centre moved an additional 1,000 paramilitary personnel to Andhra Pradesh to deal with any possible fallout. The final shape of things, Congress sources here said, will probably be closest to “option number five” in the Srikrishna Report that was presented to the Centre in January 2011. It was one of the three, out of the six options put forward in the Report, that P. Chidambaram, then Union Home Minister, said the government would eventually accept. This option accepted the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into Telangana and Seemandhra, with their existing boundaries, Hyderabad as the capital of Telangana, and a new capital for Seemandhra.

While it is still not clear whether the final proposal will accept “option five” totally, the Congress sources said Seemandhra would be given at least five years to build a new capital: in the interim Hyderabad could continue as the joint capital.

The four parliamentary seats and the corresponding Assembly seats, however, would be part of Telangana, the sources said.

There had also been some discussion on making Hyderabad a Union Territory for the five years that it would take Seemandhra to build a new capital but the Telangana protagonists were unhappy with this suggestion, worried that Hyderabad could remain a UT permanently.

However, on Monday, it appeared that the proposal to include Kurnool and Anantapur districts of Rayalaseema in the State of Telangana has been abandoned — if it was opposed strongly by those from the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, it did not find too much favour with those from Telangana either.

Congress general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh, meanwhile, told journalists that everyone had been heard on the issue now and their viewpoints taken into account. “Now a decision has to be taken and it will be taken,” he said, adding it had to be taken in the “national interest,” even though it had “not been an easy decision.”

Tuesday’s meetings are being called ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament starting on August 5: in case the government takes the plunge, a Bill giving effect to the creation of Telangana will have to be passed in Parliament. However, whether the government will be able to complete all formalities for it to pass the Bill this session remains to be seen.