NEW DELHI — The Indian government has ruled out going back on the decision to carve a separate state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, but did not confirm whether a bill for the purpose will be brought in the winter session of parliament.Speaking at his monthly press conference, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde did not rule out the possibility of imposition of President’s rule in Andhra Pradesh.
“I don’t think (there is) any possibility of going back on Telangana,”Shinde said in response to a query.To a question on the possibility of President’s rule in Andhra Pradesh, following protests in coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions over the division of the state, Shinde said: “I can’t say at the moment.”
He said the group of ministers (GoM) on Telangana, which is slated to hold its first meeting on Friday, will listen to various stakeholders.The GoM will go to the cabinet with its report, and the bill will be placed in parliament after getting the opinion of the state assembly, the union home minister said.
Asked what might happen if the state assembly rejects the resolution for the formation of Telangana, Shinde said: “The constitution has provided a remedy.” He, however, did not elaborate on the constitutional provisions for such an eventuality.
Article 3 of the Constitution vests plenary power with parliament for the reconstitution of states. It states: “Parliament may by law (a) form a new state by separation of territory from any state or by uniting two or more states or parts of states or by uniting any territory to a part of any state, (b) increase the area of any state; (c) diminish the area of any state; (d) alter the boundaries of any state; (e) alter the name of any state…”
The article provides that “no bill for the purpose shall be introduced in either of the Houses of Parliament except on the recommendation of the President and unless, where the proposal contained in the bill affects the area, boundaries or name of any of the states, the bill has been referred by the President to the Legislature of that State for expressing its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference or within such further period as the President may allow and the period so specified or allowed has expired.”
Shinde also sidestepped a question on whether the bill for Telangana will come in the winter session of parliament. He said the decision will be taken as early as possible.He indicated that the GoM will also consider the work of the Srikrishna Commission, which had looked into demands for statehood for Telangana.
“The issues (such as visiting Andhra Pradesh and talking to political parties) will be discussed in the first two meetings. It is not right to speak at the moment,” Shinde said.Shinde said care will be taken to ensure that there was no injustice during the bifurcation of the assets of the united state.
“All points will be taken into consideration. Justice will be done to Andhra,” he said.Asked about the capital for the new state, Shinde said the issue will be discussed with stakeholders.He said the GoM will give its report as early as possible.
Answering a query about suggestions that the state should not be bifurcated till 2014 LokSabha polls, Shinde said the decision on Telangana had not been taken in a hurry, and consultations had been held since 2009 when the first move was towards the creation of Telangana.It was in February that year that the state government had declared that it had no objection, in principle, to the formation of the new state.
Relief in Seemandhra afterpower stir called off
Meanwhile in a major relief to people of Seemandhra, employees of electricity entities on Thursday called off their strike but other government staff continued the stir to protest the proposed division of Andhra Pradesh.
After talks with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, leaders of Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Seemandhra electricity employees told reporters that the employees would return to work from Friday morning. They said they were “temporarily” suspending the strike in view of a cyclone threat.
The chief minister appealed to the employees to end the strike as it was causing severe hardships to people and also in view of the threat to coastal region from a severe cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal.
The leaders said the chief minister assured them that the bill for formation of Telangana would come to the assembly twice and that it would be defeated.
JAC president R. Saibaba said if necessary the employees would resume the strike if any step was taken for formation of a separate Telangana state. “This was only a sample. We showed to the aentre what a power strike is,” he said.
The JAC decision came as a major relief to people of Seemandhra, reeling without power for the last five days. Power generation and transmission was crippled in all 13 districts of Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions), causing acute hardships to people, severely affecting medical services, disrupting movement of trains and bringing the industrial production to a halt. Over 30,000 electricity employees were participating in the strike, which paralyzed generation of 4,000 MW at all thermal and hydel power plants in Seemandhra.
Over six lakh government employees and teachers continued their strike in Seemandhra for the 59th day Thursday. During the talks with the chief minister Wednesday, their leaders refused to call off the strike till they get a clear assurance that state would remain united.
The strike has brought the official machinery to a standstill, causing a huge revenue loss to the government. The government-run schools have remained shut for nearly two months while over 12,000 buses of state-owned Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) have remained off the roads.
Protests against the decision to create a separate Telangana state continued for the 72nd day across Seemandhra. It was after July 30 decision of the Congress party that protests erupted in the two regions. After the union cabinet approved formation of Telangana state last week, the agitation intensified.
Curfew also continued in violence-hit Vizianagaram town in north coastal Andhra for the fifth day. No untoward incident was reported during four-hour relaxation.
The Center has sent 30 additional companies of paramilitary forces to the state for deployment in Seemandhra to tackle anti-Telangana protests. Already 45 companies were deployed in Seemandhra.
In Delhi, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu continued his hunger strike for the fourth day. Several TDP leaders and activists were accompanying Naidu at Andhra Pradesh Bhavan. The former chief minister is demanding justice to all Telugus. He wants the central government to hold talks with leaders of all regions to find amicable solution.
In Hyderabad, doctors forcibly administered fluids to YSR Congress party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who too was on an indefinite fast. Police forcibly shifted him from his hunger strike camp to Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMs) late Wednesday night. Demanding that the central government keep the state united, Jagan was on fast for five days, and as his condition was deteriorating police removed him to the hospital.–IANS