New Delhi: The Congess-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) will consult all political parties on 6 January before taking a decision on Telangana, home minister P. Chidambaram said on Thursday after a committee that studied demands for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh submitted its report to the government.
The committee headed by former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna stopped short of spelling out a clear solution to the campaign for a separate Telangana state that activists want carved out of Andhra Pradesh, which has been rocked by political turmoil over the issue for the past year.
Two persons with knowledge of the report’s contents said the five-member committee had not specifically recommended a separate Telangana state. The two persons did not want to be identified.
Sealed and delivered: Former Supreme Court judge B.N. Srikrishna (left) hands over the report to home minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday. Kamal Kishore/PTI
The two-volume report prepared by the committee after extensive discussions with political parties and other organizations in the state was submitted to the government a day before its term was to end.
Soon after the submission of the report, Chidambaram told reporters that the report will be shared with the eight recognized political parties of Andhra Pradesh, and he proposed to convene a meeting with them on 6 January.
“Immediately after the meeting, the report will be made public,” he said.
The Srikrishna committee has said that the report will contain “several suggestions with pros and cons” on the demand for Telangana laid out.
V.K. Duggal, one of the five members of the committee, told reporters that the report had pointed to “the way forward”. Srikrishna himself and Duggal refused to divulge the contents of the report.
According to one of the two persons cited above, the committee had not recommended a separate Telangana state as it did not find the region, including capital Hyderabad, to be backward.
The demand for the bifurcation was based on the contention that the northern region of the state was backward because of neglect by successive state governments that Telangana activists claim had been dominated by those belonging to the Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions.
“The commission found many regions in Andhra and Rayalaseema more backward,” the person said. The second person added: “The government has other options as alternatives (to a separate state) for its consideration.”
The uncertainty over the prospects of a new state may trigger more political turmoil in the state.
Andhra Pradesh has been mired in political uncertainty since the death in September 2009 of chief minister Y.S. Rajashekhara Reddy, popularly known as YSR, who had returned to power with a landslide victory in elections earlier in the year.
A rebellion by his son Jagan Mohan Reddy, which resulted in his exit from the Congress party last month, and violent demonstrations for and against Telangana fuelled the turmoil. The ruling Congress party, which had appointed K. Rosaiah as the chief minister to succeed YSR, replaced him in November this year with N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.
“The party has to tread cautiously. TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti, campaigning for a separate state) has made it clear that nothing less than a separate state will satisfy them,” said a Congress Lok Sabha member from Andhra Pradesh.
“Jagan is waiting for the right time to make his next political move. Any chaos in Telangana would prepare the ground for Jagan to move against (the) party,” said the member of Parliament, who did not want to be named.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sushma Swaraj said on the social networking website Twitter that the party was “eagerly looking forward” to the formation of Telangana.
The government is concerned that yielding to the demand for the creation of Telangana would inject fresh life into demands for smaller states elsewhere in the country such as Gorkhaland in West Bengal, Vidarbha in Maharashtra, and Poorvanchal in Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, both the Centre and the state are reinforcing security to deal with any possible threat to law and order.
“There is some concern about the deployment of security forces. It is purely a precautionary measure,” said Chidambaram. “As long as the people and the political parties take upon themselves the responsibility of maintaining law and order, we do not foresee the need to actually deploy the security forces.”