By Mayank Jain:
“What we need is not more distrust and division. What we need now is acceptance.”– Tom Daschle
It was 7th December, 2009 when an all party meeting called by the government set in motion the process of carving out a new state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh. The decision was taken in the light of a fast-unto-death by Kalvakuntla Chandrasekhara Rao.
KCR, as he is known over the country with his party Telangana Rashtra Samithi, has just taken the oath as the first Chief Minister of India’s newest state and it marks the end of a long drawn movement that spanned over 60 years. Telangana has become the 29th state of India but the process has not been as simple as it looks on the surface. Here are the 10 major events in the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh:
1. BJP’s Yatra: BJP led by State party president Kishan Reddy started the 22 day Telangana ‘Poru Yatra’ across 88 constituencies to stress the importance of creation of Telangana. TRS however, did not support the state party and the rallies failed to create the desired impact across the state.
2. All Party Meeting: Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde called an all party meeting on 22nd December, 2012 to discuss the Telangana issue and he remarked that this would be the last such meeting on the issue. Around 8 parties attended the meeting but it failed to reach any conclusion due to opposing views from the Congress leadership itself.
3. Intensified Protests: In January, the Home Minister announced that the consultations on the issue were still going on and the protests intensified. Later during the year, two congress MPs joined TRS because of their support to the creation of a new state and senior leader and politburo member Kadiyam Srihari quit TDP and joined TRS.
4. Chalo Assembly: A call to lay siege at the Hyderabad Legislative Assembly in May 2013 was given by Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) to press the formation of Telangana. The police in effect, made pre-emptive arrests of suspicious people and over 25,000 policemen were deployed to monitor the situation. Osmania University became the centre of action as police had to use tear gas shells to keep the agitators away.
5. Congress’ Acceptance: Congress hosted a public meeting which was attended by over 1,00,000 people to show their continued support to the formation of Telangana as the internal survey showed lead for the party in polls. The party put the proposal to the Central Working Committee and the committee unanimously supported a resolution to form the state within a stipulated timeframe and resolved to pay due attention to the concerns over water sharing and other issues between the two states.
6. Gorkha Demands: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha reacted to the approval of Telangana by calling on an indefinite hunger strike for the formation of Gorkhaland. Protests erupted around West Bengal with calls for the formation of state. Moreover, calls for new states like Bundelkhand also gained momentum.
7. Cabinet Nod: Cabinet approved the formation of Telangana state on 3rd October, 2013 and also recommended the setting up of a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into the issues of both the resulting states and resolve them prudently.
8. State Formation Begins: After incorporating the inputs from the state assembly, GoM cleared the Telangana Bill. The bill was introduced in Lok Sabha amid protests and an unprecedented use of pepper spray by Seemandhra MP, Lagadapati Rajagopal in the assembly which caused some of the members to be hospitalized. After the clearance of bill from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the President gave his assent to the formation of Telangana and 2nd June was determined as the Telangana Formation Day.
9. Telangana Is Born: Amid celebrations, drums and a great display of firecrackers at midnight, the 29th state of India has come into being. Hyderabad will be the combined capital of the two states for the next 10 years.
10. KCR Takes Oath: After the prolonged struggle, KC Rao has become the first chief minister of the newly formed state after taking oath at 8.15 AM. The first meeting for the Telangana Cabinet is scheduled for today and the first decision KCR is expected to take as the CM is to clear the release of funds for the families of those who lost their lives during protests and agitations.
Further reading: The Historical And Cultural Context Of The Struggle For Telangana
To know more about this story and what I think, follow me on Twitter @Mayank1029 .