Talks on Hyderabad's status on

The UPA government has decided to honour the commitment it made on December 9, 2009 to carve out a separate State of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, senior party and government sources told The Hindu .

“The die is cast,” a government source said, “as far as the creation of Telangana is concerned,” even though last-minute consultations continue on the ultimate status of Hyderabad and whether two districts of Kurnool and Anantapur from the Rayalaseema region should be added to Telangana to create two States, with 21 Lok Sabha seats apiece.

The key issue, of course, is to address the apprehensions of those from the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions who have, over the years, made substantial investments in Hyderabad, geographically located within the Telangana region.

One suggestion is to make Hyderabad a union territory for a period of 10 years, with land, law and order and, perhaps the civic bodies, under the overall supervision of the Lt. Governor, the representative of the Centre, as in the case of Delhi.

Three reasons eventually weighed in favour of Telangana. One, in the event of a BJP-led NDA coming to power and it announcing that it will divide Andhra Pradesh, the Congress would have to support it: it makes more sense, therefore, to carve out a new State and take the credit for something that it had announced it would do in 2009. Two, the Congress did not eventually want to be seen as going back on a commitment it had made publicly.

Three, electoral considerations: by creating Telangana, the Congress will not only ensure it neutralises the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and deprive the BJP, which has announced its support for the T project, of an election issue, but it would also be in a position to win a majority of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in the region, along with the TRS.

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