Telangana: Centre calls for all-party meet

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Centre-calls-for-all-party-New Delhi: The Union Government on Wednesday decided to convene an all-party meeting on the Telangana issue early November. The decision to do so was conveyed by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

The meeting is likely to be held before the November 7 meeting of the Group of Ministers, constituted to look into the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, he said. Talking to reporters, he said, “The meeting will discuss various provisions of the terms of reference of the GoM and give suggestions.”

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However, principle parties in Andhra Pradesh like the YSRC and the TDP may not attend the meeting considering their stand on the issue of splitting AP and the alleged injustice being done to Seemandhra region.

The GoM, which has met twice, has already held discussions regarding the sharing of river waters, power, distribution of assets and demarcation of boundaries. Headed by the Home Minister, the ministerial panel has also discussed the approach and methodology to be adopted by it.
According to the mandate, the GoM will seek opinions of stakeholders on all important issues while formulating its recommendations to the Union Cabinet. The terms of reference for the GoM are to determine the boundaries of the new state and the residuary state with reference to electoral constituencies, judicial and statutory bodies, and other administrative units.

It will also look into the legal and administrative measures required to ensure that both the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments can function efficiently from Hyderabad as their common capital for 10 years. The panel will take into account the legal, financial and administrative measures that may be required for the transition to a new capital by the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh.

Ministry of Home Affairs has also identified four ‘principal issues for consideration’ in addition to the above list, including the contentious Article 371D, for the consideration of the Group of Ministers constituted to look into the state’s bifurcation.

In what could be a boost for the pro-united state forces, the MHA made it clear that “the Presidential Order would need to be recast by amending the Article 371D (which provides special status to Andhra Pradesh) and any other safeguards for education and employment in Hyderabad”.

The MHA has sent an 85-page ‘Background note for the GoM regarding the creation of the state of Telangana from the existing Andhra Pradesh’, a copy of which is available with this newspaper.

Significantly, this newspaper had reported the Telangana note circulated to the Union Cabinet recognised the need to either amend or repeal the Article, but the MHA tried to postpone the exercise till the state is carved out.

Because of its inclusion in the Seventh Schedule, the amendment or repeal of Article 371D requires approval of Parliament with two-third members present and supporting the changes besides approval by 50 per cent of state legislatures.