Hyderabad may get Union Territory tag

Informed sources told Deccan Herald on Saturday that the Union Home Ministry is veering round to the view that the concept of Hyderabad as UT should be explored to defuse the sensitive situation in Andhra Pradesh.

The ministry is said to be of the view that those opposed to the division of AP are actually opposed to Hyderabad being made the capital of Telangana alone. This is because of huge investments and business interests of political leaders and businessmen from the Andhra-Rayalaseema region in Hyderabad.

Hence, North Block is of the view that the heat that the impending division of the state has generated may be brought down only by ensuring that Hyderabad does not become a property of Telangana, and that it stays with both the states. That is at least for some time. The Centre is likely to fix a time-frame of 6-7 years for the Andhra-Rayalaseema region to build a capital.

At present, Chandigarh is the only example of a UT which is capital to two states. However, Chandigarh is on the border of the two states—Hyderabad is in the heart of Telangana and far away from the Andhra-Rayalaseema region.

Leaders of Telangana are opposed to the concept of UT, but the Centre is expected to try hard to convince them of it. The UPA government may also lure Telangana leaders with a financial package—Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee even made a promise in this regard to a delegation of leaders from the region recently.

However, the idea of the cyber hub as UT is no easy proposition as political parties and people are deeply divided in the state over Telangana.

Therefore, the matter may not be taken up in the January 5 meeting of political parties from AP convened by Home Minister P Chidambaram. He has already stated that the meeting is only of preliminary nature, and that there is no set agenda.

Chidambaram told reporters here on Thursday that the meeting has been convened for consultations and to “discuss a roadmap” (for the formation of a new state).

The home minister also wrote to the heads of various political parties. The letter said: “You will recall that on December 23, 2009, I made a statement on behalf of the government that, on the demand for a separate state of Telangana, there was a need to hold wide-ranging consultations with all political parties and groups in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The government also assured the people that steps would be taken to involve all concerned in the process.

“In order to deliberate on the mechanism and (to) lay down a road map for the consultations, it is proposed to convene a meeting of the recognised political parties in Andhra Pradesh to be held in New Delhi on Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 10.30 am. I invite your party to kindly nominate two representatives to attend the meeting.”

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