New Delhi: In the next two months, India could get its 29th state as the government has bitten the Telangana bullet putting to rest all speculation. Hyderabad, which has been the big bone of contention, will be the shared capital for 10 years after which it will go to Telangana.
Protests in Seemandhra have intensified and a 72-hour bandh has been called from Friday while the state's ministers in the union government have offered to resign. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy who has also opposed the decision to split the state, has called for a meeting with all Congress leaders to discuss the next course of action.
The protests reached the doorsteps of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but the government had made up its mind. Over 2 hours of discussion later on Thursday, the Union Cabinet announced the first step to creating Telangana.
The announcement put to rest all speculations. The government has decided that Hyderabad will be a shared capital between Telangana and Andhra for 10 years. The administrative control of Hyderabad will be with the Telangana government and Andhra will immediately start work on building a new capital.
A Group of Minister headed by P Chidamaram will work out the final modalities, but the political repurcussions have started with Seemandhra ministers offering to resign. Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi resigned following the announcement. Sources close to Human Resources Development Minister Pallam Raju said he made the offer to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who, however, asked him to continue.
A bandh call in Andhra Pradesh has made the next 72 hours crucial and the Union Home Ministry is closely watching if the Naxals will exploit the situation. The fallout of Telangana on Bodoland and Gorkhaland demands is also being watched.
The government has bitten the bullet and hopes to create Telangana in 60 days but it remains to be seen whether the GoM will manage to solve all political and security ramifications of this decision.