Telangana report is in, jury still out
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Telangana should not be the first option, and a separate state must be created only if it is unavoidable, the Justice Srikrishna report has said.
A united Andhra Pradesh — with a proviso for empowering the region, excluding Hyderabad, through a statutory Telangana Regional Council — may be the best way forward, says the two-volume, 700-page report, which the government made public today.
The Indian Express had reported on January 5 that the Srikrishna panel had weighed in on the side of arguments in favour of a united Andhra.
The report has offered four other options, including one that proposes a new Union Territory of greater Hyderabad with borders that are contiguous with all three regions of the state: Telangana, Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra.
This proposal is yet to be tested with political parties. But pro-Telangana parties opposed to the 'two states, one capital' theory have until now rejected this argument on the ground that Hyderabad is about 200 km away from the nearest border district of coastal Andhra.
For the Manmohan Singh government, the immediate issue at hand will be containing the fallout of the report, with the Congress's own MPs and MLAs from Telangana threatening to up the ante in the coming days, and protests already having begun on the Osmania University campus.
Home Minister P Chidambaram is likely to convene a meeting of the eight recognised parties of Andhra Pradesh in the third week of January, but the division was clear when Congress MLA Uttam Kumar Reddy, who was one of the representatives in today's all-party meeting, came out to assert that he was in favour of the creation of a separate Telangana with Hyderabad as its capital.
The other Congress representative, K Sambasiva Rao, who belongs to coastal Andhra Pradesh, said he would respond after going through the report.