There is no sure solution in sight yet on Telangana statehood issue with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government failing to announce its decision on the sensitive issue before the January 28 deadline set by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde late last month. However, it is almost obvious that the government will take the decision based on the Srikrishna Committee report.
The repercussion could be huge if the government fails to fulfill the demands of the people in the region. The government could take up another delay tactic but it looks like maintaining status quo could do more harm than good as the people are running out of patience. It would be better if the government announces its decision soon.
The government has different choices, but the implementation of any of them would have wide repercussions in the state.
The five-member Srikrishna Committee headed by former chief justice B. N. Srikrishna, which was constituted by the Government of India to look into the demand for separate Telangana state, suggested six options in its 461-page report presented to the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2010. Among the six proposals of the committee, three are widely preferred.
1) Keeping Andhra Pradesh undivided but forming the Autonomous Telangana Regional Council on the lines of Bodoland and Gorkhaland administrative system. The semi-autonomous body would look into the social, political and economic developments of the region.
As in Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), the Autonomous Telangana Regional Council would be given administrative, executive and financial powers but no legislative powers.
Possible Reaction: People in Telangana region will benefit from government's proposed Autonomous Telangana Regional Council, as it will help boost developmental activities in the region. But the supporters of a separate state may not compromise for anything less than their demand. Pro-Telangana organizations have said in the past that they would not accept the Srikrishna Committee's proposal of an autonomous council.
People are expected to hit the streets and even violence could be anticipated if the government does not give in to the demand of the pro-Telangana organizations for a separate state.
2) Bifurcating Andhra Pradesh into two states --Seemandhra and Telangana. Hyderabad would be converted into a Union territory and serve as the capital city for both the states like Chandigarh, which is the capital of both Punjab and Haryana, until a new capital is formed for one of the states.
Possible Reaction: Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into two states is the second-most preferred option suggested by the Srikrishna Committee, but looking at the present scenario, it is certainly the best and almost inevitable option for the government. People in Telangana region will be happy if the region is granted statehood.
However, anti-Telangana groups that are adamant on keeping Andhra Pradesh state undivided, will be disappointed. They may even protest if the government decides to devide the state into two.
3) Maintaining Status Quo. The Central Government would try to keep the state as it is by resorting to the delay tactics like forming a new national committee to look into the issue which could take years.
Possible Reaction: It is obvious that people are fed up with the delay in the announcement of the government's decision on the Telangana issue. The fact that the state is caught in fresh agitation after the Central Government failed to meet the January 28 deadline set by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde is proof enough that people won't tolerate any more delay.