The Congress Working Committee (CWC) and UPA Coordination Committee are expected to make a final decision on granting separate statehood for the Telangana region today.
According to reports, the coordination committee will meet at 4 pm followed by the CWC meeting at 5.30 pm. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is expected to be present at the CWC meeting.
At ground zero in Delhi, the Congress high command has to consider many issues before declaring India's 29thstate.
Rayala-Telangana or just Telangana
Out of the many suggestions, two clearly stand out and have become a big dilemma for the Congress. The party has to decide on whether to include the creation of Rayala-Telangana with 10 districts of Telangana and two (Anantapur and Kurnool) of Rayalaseema region or go with the proposed idea of Telangana with just the 10 districts. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has opposed the Rayala-Telangana proposal.
Even the status of Hyderabad has become an issue. While TRS want to be the sole bearers of Hyderabad in Telangana, the Centre is thinking of declaring it as a Union Territory. The UPA is likely to designate Hyderabad as a Union Territory for five years and afterwards it will be the joint capital of the two states.
Repercussions after the formation of Telangana
Issues such as jobs, water distribution and sharing revenue will crop up if the CWC announces the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. The procedure to establish a separate state will take at least a year as the matter goes to the state assembly and then the Union cabinet before it is approved by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will bring together leaders from Rayalaseema, Andhra and Telangana on the negotiating table for the issues mentioned.
Agitation across Andhra Pradesh
Along with the existing 1,200 personnel, an additional 1,000 paramilitary soldiers have been deployed in Andhra Pradesh by the Union Home Minister to control agitation on a united state if the need arose.
Lok Sabha Elections
With the next Lok Sabha elections just months away and the sagging response to Congress in various opinion polls conducted by TV news channels, Congress feels that bowing to the demand of separate statehood will deliver good returns.
Congress stands divided
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who hails from Rayalaseema district, and a team of Congress leaders from Andhra have strongly opposed the bifurcation of the state. The Seemandhra faction in Delhi are hoping to convince Rahul Gandhi at the CWC meeting to go against the bifurcation, reported The Hindu.
Last week, Reddy told Comgress chief Sonia Gandhi that 'creating Telangana is a suicidal step. I will not be a party to any destructive decision'
Opposition becomes united
Surprisingly, all the major Opposition parties in Andhra like Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has given its consent for Telangana. Even the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced its support.
Party president Rajnath Singh at a BJP meet said, "It is the BJP's firm conviction that the day we come to power at the Centre, we will create Telangana."
Allies become united as well
Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar has pitched for the creation of Telangana. Even the Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Ajit Singh is an advocate of smaller states particularly the creation of Harit Pradesh out of Western Uttar Pradesh.
Other demands for separate state
If Telangana is formed, it will create a domino effect that many governments have tried to run away from. In fact, demand for a Gorkhaland in West Bengal has already entered the phase of fresh agitation yesterday. Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has declared a 72-hour strike in Darjeeling starting yesterday. GJM chief leader announced his resignation on Facebook. The issue of Gorkhalanad is likely to be discussed at today's CWC meeting.
The five-decade-old agitation has seen many violent protests in the past. The struggle for a new state of Telangana gained prominence when TRS leader K Chandrasekhara Rao fasted for 10 days in 2009 and Congress announced to consider the formation of a 29thstate.