Over two months after the Congress Working Committee put its seal of approval on creation of Telangana, the Union Cabinet approved the proposal of the Home Ministry for creation of the 29th state and decided to set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to work out modalities.
"The Cabinet has given its approval for the creation of a new state of Telangana," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters after the meeting that lasted more than two hours.
He said it was decided that Hyderabad will be the common capital of the two bifucated states for 10 years.
After the creation of the new state, the security and guarantees including fundamental rights of the people of coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana will be ensured, he said.
The Cabinet approved a GoM that will go into the issue of a special financial disbursement that may be required from the central government for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh, for building its capital and to cater to special needs of the backward regions.
The new state will have a geographical area of 10 of the 23 districts of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Today's decision brings to fruition the announcement made by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram on December 9, 2009 for creation of Telangana.
The Cabinet took the momentous decision despite stiff opposition from within Congress leaders from Seemandhra region, including Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and Union Ministers and MPs. Some of them even hreatened to quit.
Ever since the CWC took the decision, there have been agitations against the bifurcation in the Seemandhra region.
In a bid to assuage feelings in the Seemandhra region, the Congress set up a committee headed by Defence Minister A K Antony to look into the grievances.
"The Cabinet has approved a Group of Ministers to determine an appropriate mechanism to ensure legal and administrative measures for both the successive states of the government to function from the common capital of Hyderabad for 10 years and to ensure safety and security of the residents of all three regions -- Coastal Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana, including guarantees of their fundamental rights.
"The Cabinet also approved.. further sought from the GoM to determine a special financial disbursement that may be required from the central government revenues that would be available to the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh for the formation of new capital and to meet the special needs of backward region of the state," Shinde said.
The districts that to be part of the new state will be Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Mahaboobnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy and Warangal besides Hyderabad.
The Cabinet decision was on the lines of the July 30 CWC resolution which said, "It is resolved to request the Central government to take steps in accordance with the Constitution to form a separate state of Telangana ......within a definite timeframe.
The CWC had also decided to recommend to the government that Hyderabad be made the joint capital of the newly-proposed state and the other regions--Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra--for a period of 10 years.
The momentous CWC decision came after hectic consultations, which involved consultations with UPA allies also.
At the CWC meeting, the Prime Minister had said the decision to create a separate Telangana would help entire Andhra region.
Before the CWC decision, ministers and MPs belonging to the non-Telangana regions made last ditch efforts to convince Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to have a rethink on the issue.
Andhra state, the first entity formed on linguistic basis, was created in 1953 from out of the erstwhile Madras Presidency with Kurnool as the capital.
With the passing of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, there was a merger of Hyderabad state and Andhra state to be called Andhra Pradesh from November 1, 1956. Andhra Pradesh now has a population of over 8.5 crore.
The 2009 announcement, taken at the height of an indefinite fast by TRS leader K Chandrashekhar Rao, had ignited street protests in the non-Telangana regions and opposition from ministers, MLAs and leaders from within the party that forced the central government and the Congress leadreship to put the issue on hold.
The Centre held rounds of meetings with all parties from the state and set up a Commission under the chairmanship for Supreme Court Judge Justice Srikrishna, which had given a report suggesting various solutions.
United Andhra supporters hold protest outside PM residence
Scores of pro-united Andhra activists, including TDP Rajya Sabha MP CM Ramesh, held a protest outside the Prime Minister's residence here this evening against the move to create a separate Telangana state.
The demonstration came ahead of the meeting of the Union Cabinet where UPA ministers approved the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
"For 65 days now in the Seemandhra areas, a total of 10 lakh employees, including teachers, have been taking to the roads (in protest).
"In the last 35 days, the issue was taken up in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. Our leader, Chandrababu Naidu, met the prime minister, the President, and other leaders and demanded that they should listen to our problems before deciding on the bifurcation," Ramesh said.
"Before taking any action, we demand that... they should first listen to what the problems of the citizens are," said Ramesh.
"If the people are satisfied, then go for the bifurcation. The Congress government is not listening. It is for the first time in Indian political history that a state bifurcation proposal is being tabled in this form," he added.
He said that Congress had okayed the proposal only to secure political gains in the coming elections.
"We will take this issue to the public of Andhra Pradesh. Congress has entered into an agreement with TRS on the one hand and YSR Congress on the other for political gains in the upcoming elections," Ramesh said.
Around 50 protesters started their stir in front of the PM's 7, Race Course Road residence at 5.15 P.M., remaining there till 6 P.M. Police dispersed the protesters while detaining some of them.