India’s national government agreed to carve the new state of Telangana out of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh Wednesday, ending a 50-year, often violent quest for a linguistically distinct enclave.
The announcement capped a day of protests that shut down the city of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh. It also came after the 11th day of a hunger strike by prominent politician K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who had said he would fast until death.
But the move raises questions about the future of Hyderabad, a high-tech hub that hosts big-name multinationals including Microsoft and Google, which sits within the 10 northern districts of the state of Andhra Pradesh that are likely to be made into the new state. And some may question a potentially ‘balkanizing’ impact of carving out a new state along linguistic lines.
After these consultations, I am making this statement. The process of forming the state of Telangana will be initiated. An appropriate resolution will be moved in the state Assembly," Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters late in the night.
Mr. Chidambaram also said the central government had been concerned about Mr. Rao’s hunger strike, which appeared to have a galvanizing effect on a drive that has dragged on for decades and caused hundreds of deaths. The leading Congress Party, which had resisted the idea of a separate state, had appealed to Rao Monday to adopt a “reasonable approach on the issue,” and said it wasn’t against the idea, NDTV reported.
[Party spokesman Manish] Tewari said, "Congress party and our government in Andhra Pradesh have reiterated at different times that we are not against a separate state but whatever situation emerges should happen by consensus."
The Congress leader said things should be seen not in a sub-regional context but in larger national context when the issues have larger ramifications.
When Rao got the news that statehood had been agreed to, he called off his fast, Indian Express reported.
The movement for a separate linguistic state dates back to the decade after India gained independence in 1947, when the country was first carved up along linguistic lines. That campaign had been dragging for the past couple of decades, however. According to the Hindu newspaper, the resurgence of the movement in recent months points to the "political vacuum" created in Andhra Pradesh by the death of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Mr. Reddy, the former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, died in a helicopter crash in September.