India to split Andhra Pradesh state into two
Fri, Dec 11, 2009
Asia News Network

The Indian government's decision to carve out a separate state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh has plunged the state into chaos and the Rosaiah government into a crisis, with scores of Congress and opposition legislators quitting over the issue.

The government's decision came after more than a week of violent protests shut down business in Hyderabad, the main city in Andhra Pradesh and home to firms like Microsoft, Google and Mahindra Satyam.

In New Delhi, ruling Congress MP from Vijayawada Lagadapati Rajagopal submitted his resignation to the Lok Sabha (Parliament) Speaker over the issue of splitting the state.

Anantha Venkatarami Reddy, Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh, said he will also resign to protest against the decision.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who met with pro-Telangana and non-Telangana MPs from the state on Thursday (December 10), has assured that all views will be considered before arriving at a final decision, said one of the MPs.

A Union home ministry official said it will take a year or two to complete the formalities for Telangana which will be the 29th state of the country.

Home minister P Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) that he had invited Telangana National Committee (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhar Rao to New Delhi to discuss the next step.

In Hyderabad, 100 members of legislative assembly (MLAs) - 58 Congress members, 29 Telugu Desam Party members and 13 Praja Rajyam Party members - in the 294-member Assembly submitted their resignations to the Speaker, N Kiran Kumar Reddy.

The Speaker's office said they have been informed by 20 Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLAS that they would be putting in their papers tonight.

The Rosaiah government is reduced to a minority as it has only 156 MLAs, just eight ahead of the half way mark. Three ministers - P Vishwaroop, P Subash Chandra Bose, S Mohan Reddy - and government whip Dr Sailajanath also submitted their resignations.

Senior Congress MLA A Vivekananda Reddy told reporters after a meeting of MLAs and MLCs tonight that those who resigned will not attend the proceedings of the House and that they would endeavour to have integrationists like them to also submit their resignations.

At an emergency meeting of the Rosaiah Cabinet, ministers were divided on regional lines. They finally said they would abide by the high command's decision.

Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions would observe a bandh following local Congress units' call.

One section of MLAs wrote that they are resigning as a mark of protest against the central government's decision to divide the state.

Another section said that they were resigning as their opinions were not taken into consideration by the central government before it announced such a major decision.

Several scores of Congressmen quit their posts in municipalities and Zilla Parishad (district committee) bodies. There was a rash of protest rallies, dharnas (sit-ins), rasta rokos (blockades) across the two regions of Andhra and Rayalaseema.

Congress leader JC Diwakar Reddy, undefeated in his legislative career and who has served as pro-tem Speaker of the House, was among the first to resign.

"I cannot rebel against the high command's decision, nor can I ignore the feelings of my people favouring integrated state. I am resigning out of helplessness", he told The Statesman.

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