Rayala Telangana proposal a tactful move of Congress?

Rayala Telangana proposal a tactful move of Congress?

The buzz in Andhra Pradesh political circles is that the Congress high command has tactfully floated the idea of creating "Rayala Telangana" state, rather than Telangana, to checkmate leaders on both sides of the regional divide.

The union cabinet is expected to consider the Andhra Pradesh State Re-organisation (draft) Bill within a couple of days.

That Rayala Telangana was not a mere teaser became apparent with AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh saying in New Delhi today that "I will not rule out anything" when asked if the proposal was being considered by the Centre.

Though Congress Central Working Committee resolved on July 30 to create separate Telangana state with 10 districts, including Hyderabad, its latest plan is said to be to divide all four districts of Rayalaseema region equally and amalgamate two of them (Kurnool and Anantapuram) in Telangana, thereby creating the Rayala Telangana state.

This was one of the recommendations made by Justice Srikrishna Committee.
In fact, Union Rural Development Minister and member of GoM looking into the state bifurcation issue, Jairam Ramesh, was said to have broached the Rayala Telangana proposal when Deputy chief minister Damodara Rajanarasimha had met him in New Delhi.

However, except Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party and a few Congress leaders from Anantapuram district, there are no takers for the Rayala Telangana plan.
Everyone across the political spectrum in Telangana is opposing the idea. Local political circles are abuzz with speculation that Congress' game plan is to first outsmart the united AP protagonists when the draft Bill is referred to the state assembly for its views.

By merging Kurnool and Anantapuram districts with proposed Telangana, Congress wants to ensure that the strength in the 294-member assembly is equally divided at 147 seats.

"This way there will be no question of majority or minority in the Assembly when the draft Bill is referred back to the President. The Centre can get away from the blame that it is dividing the state against majority opinion," a senior Congress leader pointed out.

Also, creation of Rayala Telangana will settle the water dispute at least partially as Kurnool and Anantapuram districts stand to get assured water from river Krishna, he said.

Besides, it could also avert a possible fight for the new capital as Kurnool district leaders have been demanding that Kurnool town be made the capital once again.
Kurnool was the capital of erstwhile Andhra state before Andhra Pradesh came into being in 1956.

Interestingly, Kurnool district leaders, too, are averse to the idea of Rayala Telangana.

"We don't want Rayala Telangana. We want only an undivided Andhra Pradesh," state Minor Irrigation Minister T G Venkatesh asserted.

Barring senior-most legislator J C Diwakar Reddy and a couple of first-time MLAs, even Anantapuram district leaders, too, are not favouring Rayala Telangana.

"We are firm on our demand for a unified state. Nothing else will do," state School Education Minister S Sailajanath, who hails from Anantapuram district, stressed here today.

The Telugu Desam Party leaders from Rayalaseema region are also breathing fire at the Congress over the latest speculation.

"Sitting in New Delhi, the Congress leaders are giving all sorts of leaks as part of their devious game plan. They should stop all this mischief," TDP senior leader Gali Muddukrishnama Naidu said.

In private, however, some TDP leaders from Anantapuram district said they would go by the wishes of people of their region and then take a stand.

In Telangana, however, there is unanimity among all parties that they want nothing less than a separate state with 10 districts with Hyderabad as the capital.

Congress leaders from the region conferred under the leadership of deputy chief minister C Damodara Rajanarasimha here and strongly opposed the Rayala Telangana plan.

Though Rajanarasimha was supposed to meet the high command leaders again in New Delhi today and press the case for a Telangana state only, he put off his trip at the last minute.

But another senior leader D Srinivas met Union Defence Minister and GoM member A K Antony and other leaders in New Delhi today and said to have opposed the Rayala Telangana move.

Congress MPs from Telangana, too, are planning to meet members of the GoM in a day or two and firmly oppose this plan.

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