New Delhi: Shedding its dithering, the Congress and the UPA on Tuesday night unanimoulsy decided to create Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh, a momentous decision that came in the face of stiff resistance from leaders from non-Telangana region.

The Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making body, decided to recommend to the Central Government to form the 29th state comprising 10 districts.

Hyderabad, considered the crowning jewel of the Telangana region, will be the joint capital of the newly-proposed state and the other regions--Rayalaseema and Andhra--for a period of 10 years. A new capital for Andhra will be identified Seemandhra region within this period.

"It is resolved to request the Central Government to take steps in accordance with the Constitution to form a separate state of Telangana ......within a definite timeframe," said a resolution passed at an hour-long meeting of the CWC.

The CWC meet followed a meeting of the UPA which also unanimously favoured formation of Telangana. The CWC acknowledged that it "has not been an easy decision" but it was taken after the widest possible consultations and taking into account the chequered history of the demand for a separate state.

The decisions by the CWC and the UPA came after hectic consultations for the last over a week on creation of the 29th state of the country that will have a geographical area of 10 of the 23 districts of undivided Andhra Pradesh.

The Union Cabinet will meet on Wednesday, apparently to consider formation of a Group of Ministers to go into economic issues on creation of the new state.

Tuesday's decision also brings to fruition the announcement made by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram on December 9, 2009 for creation of Telangana. This is the first decision of the UPA to form a new state in the last nine years.

Contrary to speculation that the new state could be named Rayala Telangana, including a couple of districts of Rayalaseema, the districts that will be part of the new state will be Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Mahaboobnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy and Warangal besides Hyderabad.

At the moment the idea is to have 10 districts in Telangana but it will be for the Group of Ministers to consider demands for inclusion of more areas, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, in-charge of Andhra Pradesh affairs in Congress, told. Out of 42 Lok Sabha seats and 294 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana is likely to have 17 Lok Sabha seats and 119 Assembly seats.

The party, however, made it clear that no demand for creation of any other state would be considered as it emphasized that this case cannot be compared with any other. This assertion comes against the backdrop of demands for creation of separate states of Vidarbha and Gorkhaland.

While TRS, which has been spearheading the demand for separate state, welcomed the decision, supporters of united Andhra Pradesh stepped up protests against division. At the CWC meeting, the Prime Minister said that the decision would help the entire Andhra region.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi gave a historical perspective on the issue to the CWC meeting in which Digvijay Singh moved the resolution.  It was adopted unanimously.

Andhra state, the first entity formed on linguistic basis,  was created in 1953 from out of the erstwhile Madras Presidency with Kurnool as the capital.  With the passing of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, there was a merger of Hyderabad state and Andhra state to be called Andhra Pradesh from November 1, 1956.  Andhra Pradesh now has a population of over 8.5 crore.

The 2009 announcement, taken at the height of an indefinite fast by TRS leader K Chandrashekhar Rao, had ignited street protests in the non-Telangana regions and opposition from ministers, MLAs and leaders from within the party that forced the Central Government and the Congress leadership to put the issue on hold.

The Centre held rounds of meetings with all parties from the state and set up a Commission under the chairmanship for Supreme Court Judge Justice Srikrishna, which had given a report suggesting various solutions.

Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who was opposed to the division of Andhra Pradesh and was said to be thinking in terms of resigning, was called for consultations.  He attended the UPA meeting.

However, he dismissed reports of resignation as "rumours".  Similarly, Congress ministers in the Union Government and the MPs gave enough indications that they would follow the party line.

(Agencies)

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