The union cabinet on Thursday approved the creation of a new state of Telengana by bifurcating the existing state of Andhra Pradesh, triggering a wave of protests from within the ruling UPA alliance and outside.
Massive protests erupted across Seemandhra amidst a flood of resignations of Congress leaders from the region, including that of union minister of tourism K Chiranjeevi.
The new Telengana state will share the city of Hyderabad as common capital with the truncated Andhra Pradesh for a period of ten years.
The cabinet also approved the setting up of a group of ministers (GoM) to work out the modalities of carving out Telengana state.
The GoM will go into the various issues that concern both the states, including financial disbursements from the centre for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh, for building its capital and to cater to special needs of the backward regions and suggest appropriate measures to address them.
It would also work out the modalities for the provision of special financial disbursements required for the setting up of a new capital for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh and to meet the special needs of the backward regions and districts of the two states.
Actor-turned politician Chiranjeevi faxed his resignation to the prime minister's office barely hours after the cabinet gave the go-ahead to the creation of India's 29th state and making Hyderabad the joint capital of the two states for 10 years, his personal assistant said.
Chiranjeevi, who hails from coastal Andhra, felt hurt over the way the central government acted against the wishes of the people of the Seemandhra (which includes Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra).
Other Congress MPs who announced their resignations from the party included Aruna Kumar Vundavalli and Anantha Venkatarami Reddy and several others.
The MPs have already submitted their resignations to the Lok Sabha speaker.
Meanwhile, protests in Seemandhra region has been gathering steam throughout the day with around two dozen protesters staging demonstrations outside the prime minister's official residence in New Delhi while the cabinet meeting was underway.
The cabinet nod comes for the creation of a Telengana state over two months after the Congress working committee put its seal of approval on statehood for Telangana, which was merged into the state despite opposition in 1956.
Telangana will have 10 of the 23 districts of undivided Andhra Pradesh, 20 per cent of India's coal deposits, 45 per cent of Andhra's forest area and 41.6 per cent of the state's population.
People of the region believe the resources are mostly appropriated for the benefit of those living in other parts of the state.
The decision to form a separate Telengana state was first announced on 9 December 2009, by the then home minister P Chidambaram.