Special status to Telangana, residuary AP under Article 371-D

Telangana statehoodArticle 371-D, which was inserted through the 32nd Amendment in 1973, empowers the President to issue orders from time to time providing for equitable opportunities for people belonging to different parts of the state. (PTI)

The GoM, set up to look into the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, is all set to recommend special status to both the states under Article 371-D of the Constitution and examining a proposal to include two districts of Rayalseema in Telangana.

The Group of Ministers is likely to propose that the draft Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill should be named as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Bill, thus avoiding an amendment in the Constitution but allowing both the states to enjoy special status, official sources said.

Article 371-D, which was inserted through the 32nd Amendment in 1973, empowers the President to issue orders from time to time providing for equitable opportunities for people belonging to different parts of the state.

This provision, which has overriding effect on other Articles of the Constitution, was brought in following agreement on a six-point formula between leaders of the state on September 21, 1973. This formula was aimed at a uniform approach for "accelerated development of the backward areas" of Andhra Pradesh, and to provide "equitable opportunities" to different areas of the state in the matter of education and employment in public services.

The proposal to reconstruct the boundaries of Telangana and include two districts of Rayalseema - Kurnool and Anantapur - as part of Telangana is believed to have been examined by the GoM. However, sources said, it is not clear whether a final decision has been taken by the ministerial panel on it.

If this proposal is accepted, the united Andhra Pradesh would be divided equally and both the states would get 147 seats each in the assembly and 45 seats in the legislative council.

Besides, both Kurnool and Anantpur have proximity to Hyderabad and have sizeable Muslim population.

However, the move is likely to be opposed by Telangana Rashtra Samiti and BJP, but may be supported by All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and some Andhra Pradesh Congress leaders.

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