M A I N   N E W S

State No. 29 – TELANGANA
Centre buckles
l Resolution likely today l Rao ends fast 

New Delhi/Hyderabad, December 9
Succumbing to pressure, the Centre tonight conceded to the demand for a separate Telangana state for which the process will be initiated and an appropriate resolution moved in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

The decision was taken at a late night meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah after two rounds of consultations in the Congress core committee with Sonia Gandhi and senior cabinet colleagues.

“After these consultations, I am making this statement. The process of forming the state of Telangana will be initiated. An appropriate resolution will be moved in the state Assembly,” Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters late in the night.

The Centre and the Congress were forced to take such a step after further deterioration in the health of TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, whose indefinite fast entered the 11th day today and tension simmered in the entire Telangana region apprehending the worst.

Though Chidamabarm refused to specify when the resolution would be moved, it was expected to be tabled tomorrow in the state assembly. For the creation of a state, both Houses of Parliament have to pass a Bill.

Chidambaram said the Central Government was concerned about the health of Rao. He requested him to withdraw his fast.

He said the Chief Minister had been requested to withdraw cases filed against leaders, students and others after November 29, when Rao began his indefinite fast at Khammam.

Rosaiah, he said, had informed the government that he would take necessary steps. The Home Minister also asked students to withdraw their agitation.

Chidambaram said the government had been concerned over the agitation in Telangana over the past few days. “We have held extensive consultations. The Prime Minister was away. He returned yesterday and after that we had consultations with the Chief Minister,” the Home Minister said.

Telangana region accounts for 119 of the 294 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh and 17 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats.

The TRS, which was formed in 2001 on the plank of a separate Telangana state by Rao after he quit the TDP, was part of the UPA after the 2004 elections. It parted ways with the Congress in 2006, saying the UPA was doing nothing on its demand.

While in the 2004 elections his party won five Lok Sabha seats, it managed only two seats in 2009 and suffered severe erosion in the Assembly elections, too.

The decision came on a day when in Lok Sabha leaders cutting across party lines expressed concern over the health of Rao and urged for immediate intervention by the Centre.

The Centre’s decision also comes on the back of a strong demand from 15 Congress MPs belonging to the Telangana region who met Gandhi and demanded creation of a separate Telangana state.

Earlier, Rosaiah told reporters that it was for the Centre to take a decision on amalgamation or bifurcation by factoring in various issues.

With the fast entering the 11th day, 55-year-old Chandrasekhara Rao developed protein malfunction after he refused even intravenous fluids. In the afternoon, doctors said there was a “marginal improvement” in his condition after he agreed to have intravenous fluids and to be put on saline drips.

Tension mounted in the state capital and the Telangana region ahead of the “march to Hyderabad” which resembled a fortress as additional police forces were deployed and hundreds of activists rounded up to prevent any protests.

Meanwhile, TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao tonight broke his 11-day-old hunger strike after the Centre accepted his demand for a separate Telangana state.

Rao broke his fast after accepting a glass of juice from TRS ideologue Jayashankar at the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences shortly after midnight.

With tears in his eyes, a frail-looking Rao said in a feeble voice that he was thankful to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani and leaders of all other political parties for supporting the cause of Telangana statehood. — PTI



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