New Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram Monday refused to set a deadline for formation of Telangana state but said the process won't take too long even as the opposition targeted the government over the decision.
"I cannot give a date. The process will be taken forward in accordance with the procedure and precedence," Chidamabaram told the Rajya Sabha while replying to a discussion on the issue.
Stating the concerns of the Seemandhra region would be taken into consideration, he denied the charge of a hurried decision. "Every political party's view will be kept in mind before the government takes a decision on how to take forward the process of Telanagana formation," Chidambaram said.
Opposition parties questioned the government's manner of announcing the proposed formation of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh, with the BJP accusing the Congress of not doing its "homework" on the creation of the state. Taking a dig at the BJP, Chidambaram said the process of forming Telangana would not take as long as it took while forming the states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, which took about two years.
"The more you accuse the Congress, the party will become stronger and stronger," he said.
Participating in a discussion in the Rajya Sabha to seek a clarification on Chidambaram's statement on Telangana, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the Congress failed to control the emotions of the people of Andhra Pradesh.
"I take part in this discussion with a heavy heart. My party had taken a principled decision after discussing the issue threadbare and also the various aspects of the division of the state and creation of Telengana," BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said.
He said the government needs to understand the situation in Andhra Pradesh and should try and evolve some response to the current situation.
"I would like to know from the home minister (Sushilkumar Shinde) whether the government and the Congress party had done enough homework," he asked.
Asserting that investment in Andhra Pradesh has suffered due to the statehood issue, he said: "We were marching forward. But in the last 10 years there is no investment coming."
"The Congress party not only failed to control its leaders but also failed to control the emotions. The government should address the fears and concerns of the people," he said.
Two more Andhra Pradesh ministers Monday resigned in protest against the decision to create Telangana. Over 3.5 lakh state government employees are set to launch an indefinite strike in 13 Seemandhra districts to protest division of the state.
Participating in the discussion, Telugu Desam Party's Y.S. Chowdhary said: "The manner in which this decision was taken is very different."
"No legislators have been taken into confidence," he said, adding that "when the division of the state was unavoidable, why did the Congress not take all stakeholders into confidence?"
Assam MP Biswajit Daimary of the Bodoland People's Front (BPF), favoured a new state reorganisation commission.
"The new report would be considered for creating states. Then there can be a solution to this (demand for new states) problem," he said.
The Congress's K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao said the decision was not acceptable. "Was there historically any state named Telangana," he questioned.
Communist Party of India-Marxist's Sitaram Yechury said the decision should be taken taking all on board. He also said Congress to deliver on a "comprehensive" note promised in 2009.
AIADMK leader V. Maitreyan said: "This decision is not decision via route of conviction, but via route of political opportunism."
"Their own Congress members were not convinced. if they cannot convince their own chief minister, MPs and MLAs, how did they take decision of forming Telangana?" he said, adding that government should see that normalcy is restored in the state.
Congress MP from Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu welcomed the decision.
"This is a case of demerger of Telangana. It was forcefully merged in Andhra Pradesh," he said.
Chidambaram, in a statement on the Congress' announcement on Telangana last week had said a number of substantive issues need to addressed on the decision.
The minister had said that the home ministry would bring a comprehensive note to the cabinet containing both substantive and procedural issues.
The discussion was taken up following demands across the political spectrum.