Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday sought to clear what he called misconceptions over statehood for Telangana.
“There is a misconception that the Central government acted in haste; that the political parties were not consulted; and that I, as Home Minister, acted as an individual. As you are well aware, none of these misconceptions is supported by facts,” he told the all-party meeting here on the Telangana issue.
While urging each of the parties to show accommodation and goodwill, Mr. Chidambaram stressed that there must be a halt to agitations and bandhs and law and order must be maintained.
“Let harmony prevail”
“Children must go to schools and colleges. People must be allowed to carry on their normal day-to-day activities. The government must be able to focus on development and the welfare of the people. It is in the interest of all sections of the people of Andhra Pradesh that peace and harmony prevail while the consultations take place.”
Cautioning all political parties that there were forces waiting on the wings who ridicule the parliamentary form of democracy and who would be happy if “we collectively fail to find answers to the issues that concern us,” the Home Minister said: “We should not give any room for these forces to gain strength or credence.”
“Let us demonstrate the strength of our democracy and the capacity of our political parties to resolve differences and find solutions,” he told the representatives.
On the history behind the demand for a separate Telangana State, Mr. Chidambaram said it was sufficient to refer to the report of the States Reorganisation Commission; the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1956 and the amendment of Article 371(1) of the Constitution; the Six Point Formula of 1973; and the introduction of Article 371 D in the Constitution.
“More recently, in the elections to the State Assembly of Andhra Pradesh held in May 2009, the political parties outlined their positions in their manifestos,” he said.
Mr. Chidambaram reiterated that the first statement on behalf of the Central government on December 9, 2009 was made on the basis of the minutes of the all-party meeting held on December 7, 2009 in Hyderabad.
Taking note of the altered situation, on December 23 last, the Union government promised to hold wide-ranging consultations with all political parties and groups in Andhra Pradesh and the agenda was to “deliberate on the mechanism and lay down a road map for the consultations.”
He reminded the representatives that “debate, discussion and consultation are the best means to resolve differences and find answers.”
“The argument that parliamentary democracy can be sustained without political parties is an argument that has to be rejected. Each one of you represents a recognised political party and, therefore, I would respectfully submit that each one of you bears a responsibility to help in resolving the differences and finding appropriate answers,” the Home Minister told the meeting.