Telengana will take time, but decision final: Chidambaram

The government is committed to the carving-out of a new Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh and there is no going back on the decision, finance minister P Chidambaram told parliament on Monday.

He refused to give a timeline for the formation of Telangana, but promised the opposition that it would look into major concerns like Hyderabad, the prosperous city that both Andhra Pradesh and the nascent new state want for themselves.

"I cannot give a date. The process will be taken forward in accordance with the procedure and precedence," Chidambaram said in the Rajya Sabha, speaking in lieu of the ailing home minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

He did say the process would not take as long as it took to form the states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, which took about two years.

He also rejected the opposition's allegation that the decision to carve out a new state was taken in haste.
"Every political party's view will be kept in mind before the government takes a decision on how to take forward the process of Telangana formation," Chidambaram said when asked by leader of the opposition Arun Jaitley on whether the government was determined to form the new state despite opposition from within and outside.

Chidambaram virtually admitted that the decision to form a new state was based on India's divisive politics rather than sound economic reasons. "These are matters in which politics overtakes reason and logic. You are damned if you do, you are damned if you don't," he said.

He denied that the decision had been taken in haste, without sufficient consideration. "The government has done its homework by delegating the responsibility to a responsible committee," he said.

"The Srikrishna Commission has given us enough material to come to a comprehensive decision. They have focused on matters concerning health, river waters of the three regions of Andhra Pradesh. There is a separate chapter on Hyderabad."

Chidambaram tried to suggest that "a full-fledged debate in this respect is premature", as a number of issues needed to be addressed in the formation of a new state.

Jaitley riposted that he was as confused at the end of the discussion as he was in the beginning.

There was no unison among the opposition parties on the issue - the Bharatiya Janata Party, the main opposition, agreed to the formation of Telangana, along with Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, the Janata Dal (United), and the Communist Party of India (CPI) supporting it.

Noticeably, the Communist Party (Marxist), an ally of the CPI, was against the creation of the new state, along with the Samajwadi Party and Jayalalithaa's AIADMK.