2014 on its mind, UPA clears Andhra division

TelanganaTelangana supporters celebrate after the Union Cabinet approved the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. (PTI)

The government on Thursday set in motion the process for creation of a separate Telangana state, with the Cabinet giving its go-ahead for setting up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to work out the modalities for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. As recommended by the Congress Working Committee, Hyderabad will remain joint capital of the two states Telangana and Seemandhra for 10 years.

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"The Cabinet has given its approval for creation of a new state of Telangana," Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said after the meeting which lasted over two hours. "A Group of Ministers has been set up... and Hyderabad will be the joint capital of Telangana and Seemandhra for 10 years," he said.

Full coverage: Statehood for Telangana

Soon after the announcement, union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi, who was in Hyderabad, was reported to have resigned. While Chiranjeevi was not available for comment, PTI quoted his personal assistant as saying that he had faxed his resignation to the PMO.

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The Cabinet's decision is expected to face stiff opposition from Congress leaders from the Seemandhra region, including Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy.

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At the Cabinet meeting, two Congress ministers HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju and Textile Minister K S Rao were learnt to have strongly opposed the move. Sources said Rao even threatened to resign from the Cabinet. According to a PTI report, Raju also offered to resign.

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At least three Congress MPs A Sai Prathap (Rajampet), Anantha Venkatarami Reddy (Anantapur) and Vundavalli Arun Kumar (Rajahmundry) also resigned from the party. The trio had resigned from the Lok Sabha in August, but their resignations are yet to be accepted.

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