Hyderabad ( AsiaNews / Agencies) - By the end of February, India could greet the birth of her 29th State: Telangana, one of the three regions of Andhra Pradesh. Yesterday, the Lok Sabha (Lower House) passed the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill . Tomorrow it will be before the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) for a vote. The measure has provoked heated debates and controversy: especially criticized by some members of Congress (the ruling party), which has made it a bone of contention in recent months. Confirming the highly sensitive nature of this decree are also Kiran Kumar Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, has decided to resign not only from his position but also quit Congress.
is not my future or political career at stake - Reddy said - "the interest of the Telugu speaking
people [majority ethno-linguistic
group in Andhra Pradesh- ed ]on the two sides of the divide is
at stake and I have decided to quit in resentment against the unilateral manner
in which the party leadership went ahead with bifurcation". Among the criticisms levelled
against the Congress , in fact, there is a certain haste in wanting to approve the
decree "at all costs", to appear close to the needs of the people
ahead of the general election next May. An attitude that clashes, among other
things, with the fact that among the staunchest supporters of Andhra Pradesh
Reorganisation Bill is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ), the Hindu nationalist
opposition, which has repeatedly used to this issue to engage in verbal battles
with Congress .
The Telangana issue - and the independence movement that ensued - dates back to 1956, when the Telangana and Andhra regions are merged together to form the state of Andhra Pradesh , whose capital is Hyderabad. Even then, the people of Telangana had concerns: on the one hand its economy is less developed than the other region rich in resources, especially from the delta of the rivers Krishna and Godavari. Andhra however, is more developed in cultural and educational terms, and can use this to its advantage to exploit Telangana.
The people were reassured by the so-called "gentlemen's pact" memo signed in 1956 by the leaders of the two regions. The agreement promises to equitably distribute resources and revenues , political representation , and to provide equal health and education facilities throughout the state.
However, according to supporters the promises made in the pact have not been honored, thus leaving the Telangana region in a general state of backwardness, exploited by the more cultured, educated and advanced part of the state. The protests of the independence movement have intensified since 2004, with events sometimes degenerating into violence.
If the Rajya Sabha pass the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill, the only thing missing to allow the birth of the 29th state in the country will be the ratification of the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee. In that case, Telangana will include 10 of the 23 districts of Andhra Pradesh , including Hyderabad. The city will be "shared" between the two states for the next 10 years, and then remain in Telangana. Andhra Pradesh will have to develop a new capital .
In announcing his resignation, Kiran Reddy said he was not against the aspirations of the people of Telangana. But he was opposed to the decision to divide the State as it was not in the interests of the two regions. Development would suffer with immediate effect while disputes between the two States in power, irrigation, education, employment and other sectors would become annual feature, he added.