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AP Congress speaks in two voices again on Telangana

Ravi Reddy
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Minister Vatti Vasant Kumar, who represents Seemandhra region, addressing the media after a meeting of GoM on Telangana issue in New Delhi on Tuesday. Minister P. Sailajanath is seen.— Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar
Minister Vatti Vasant Kumar, who represents Seemandhra region, addressing the media after a meeting of GoM on Telangana issue in New Delhi on Tuesday. Minister P. Sailajanath is seen.— Photo: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

The Congress repeated the same old story here on Tuesday when its representatives from Telangana and Seemandhra regions respectively stuck to their stated positions in favour and against the Congress Working Committee decision to divide the State.

Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Raj Narasimha tried to impress upon the GoM the need to make separate Telangana a reality by January 1, while Tourism Minister Vatti Vasant Kumar, who hails from Seemandhra, wanted the CWC to reconsider its decision.

On a day when five parties – MIM, BJP, CPI, TRS and the Congress -- met the GoM, it was the ruling party’s contradictory stand that stood out. Almost all the parties, except the MIM, took the line that the bifurcation process should continue.

It may be recalled that during the all-party meeting held in December 2012 also, Congress representatives -- former Speaker K. R. Suresh Reddy and former Minister Gade Venkat Reddy – preferred to articulate their regions’ aspirations rather than present a common stand.

Mr. Raj Narasimha confined his argument to the Home Ministry’s Terms of Reference while Mr. Vasant Kumar to counter these issues. The latter went to the meeting equipped with a 20-page report prepared with the help of PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana and Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, highlighting how bifurcation would be detrimental to Seemandhra. Minister for Primary Education S. Sailajanath, who is leading the united Andhra movement, joined the meeting after some time but did not speak.

Status of Hyderabad

In his presentation, Mr. Damodar Raj Narasimha made it clear that CWC’s decision to create Telangana with 10 districts and Hyderabad as its capital should be implemented. “We want Bhadrachalam to be part of Telangana”, he said. On the status of Hyderabad, he said the boundary of the joint capital should be co-terminus with the revenue district and not HMDA limits. “All the key administrative offices, legislature, High Court and government departments are functioning in the revenue district and that alone is the common capital area,” he said.

He suggested an exclusive regulatory authority for river Krishna as several lift irrigation projects were built across it. “If the State is divided, lift irrigation schemes on the Krishna will become inter-state projects,” he said. On power shortage for Telangana, he sought 1,000 MW from the central generating system. He wanted continuation of Article 371 D. Talking to reporters, he exuded confidence that Telangana would be a reality by January 1 next year. Mr. Vasant Kumar said decision to divide the State was unjustified and unacceptable. He explained how several issues on river water sharing, education, employment, health and employees would crop up if the Centre went ahead with division.

Correction

This article has been edited to incorporate the following correction:

A.P. Congress speaks in two voices again on Telangana (Nov. 13, 2013) referred to a report prepared with the help of PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana and Finance Minister B. Satyanarayana. It should have been PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana and Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy. It was an editing error.


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