Reiterating that the decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh was a grave mistake, Union Textiles Minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao today said the AP Reorganisation Bill-2013 was unlikely to be approved by Parliament. Forget about approval, the Bill may not even go to Parliament, he told a press conference in Hyderabad.
The Centre could not go ahead with the division of a state overlooking the opinion of people, he said.
Ours is a federal country where the Centre has certain powers and the states have certain powers. Without taking the views of the people of a state, the Centre can't go ahead with the division process. There is still scope to stall the bifurcation process and we are considering various options for that, Sambasiva Rao said without divulging the options.
All Union Ministers and MPs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions would come to a decision on the future course of action if the Centre tried to push through the division process without considering their pleas, he said.
If a certain action of ours will stop the bifurcation, we are ready for it, the Union Minister said and asked if they were ready to quit their posts and push the UPA government into minority. But since the BJP is supporting the Bill, our resignations may not stall the process, he maintained. Stating that he walked out of the Union Cabinet meet on December 5 protesting the manner in which the Centre tried to approve the draft Bill, Sambasiva Rao said he told the Cabinet that he could not be a party to such a decision.
"I suggested three options if the Centre wanted to bifurcate the state. First is to make Hyderabad a Union Territory or a UT with an Assembly for a period of ten years. Second is to make Bhadrachalam division part of coastal Andhra region as it existed prior to 1959 and the third is to merge the districts of Kurnool and Anantapuram in Rayalaseema with ten districts of Telangana." Though the Centre initially favoured the third option, it dropped it following just a day's protest by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, Sambasiva Rao elaborated.
Explaining the reason for seeking UT status to Hyderabad, the Union Minister pointed out that all the development in Andhra Pradesh was concentrated only in the capital over the past few decades. Development of Seemandhra region depended only on agriculture, but the income on it was meagre. We could have somehow convinced people of Seemandhra that not everything was lost had Hyderabad been made a UT, he said.
Without Bhadrachalam in coastal Andhra, construction of the multi-purpose Polavaram irrigation project was not at all possible. Even if the Prime Minister comes and sits there, Polavaram cannot be completed. Telangana leaders, who played every dirty trick since 2004 to stall the project, will not let it be completed now, Rao said.
That would leave both the Krishna and Godavari deltas, considered the granaries of India, parched, he apprehended. Sambasiva Rao wanted the Union Cabinet and the Congress high command to reconsider the decision on the division and proceed ahead only after doing justice to all regions of the state. I still believe united AP is the best, otherwise justice should be done to all the regions. We will continue our fight for this, he asserted.