Protégé is now a counterpart: Bifurcation issues await resolution in Chandrababu Naidu-Revanth Reddy meeting

Hopes began soaring after Naidu wrote to his Telangana counterpart recently, suggesting that they meet up on 6 July to discuss the issues that concerned both the states.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Jul 05, 2024 | 9:00 AM Updated Jul 05, 2024 | 9:00 AM

Chandrababu Naidu and Revanth Reddy

It looks as though a new beginning is imminent to resolve the bifurcation issues between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, which have been festering for over 10 years.

Hopes began soaring after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu wrote to his Telangana counterpart A Revanth Reddy recently, suggesting that they meet up on 6 July to discuss the issues that concerned both the states. Revanth Reddy — once considered a protégé of Naidu — will sit across the table as a counterpart.

The intractable issues that might merit attention at the meet include the division of the assets between the two states, dispute over the arrears of over ₹6,700 crore payable to Andhra Pradesh for supplying power to Telangana in the initial days after the bifurcation.

In fact, even the Union government had asked Telangana to pay the arrears to Andhra Pradesh in 2022. But the then BRS government said that Andhra Pradesh had to pay Telangana, ₹17,828 crore in arrears.

Also Read: Revanth Reddy welcomes Chandrababu Naidu’s proposal for meeting to resolve bifurcation issues

Asset division, lack of political will

In the ninth schedule of the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganization Act, there are 89 government companies and corporations and in the 10th schedule, there are 107 institutions.

The Ninth schedule includes companies such as the Andhra Pradesh State Seed development corporation, Andhra Pradesh State Agro Industrial Development Corporation and Andhra Pradesh State Warehousing Corporation.

The 10th schedule lists 107 institutions, including Andhra Pradesh State Co-operative Union, Environment Protection Training and Research Institute, Forest Academy, Centre for Good Governance and Andhra Pradesh Police Academy.

Though an expert committee constituted by retired IAS officer Sheela Bhide studied the issue and made recommendations on dividing the assets in the two schedules, the work remained a non-starter due to what is widely alleged as lack of political will and initiative on both sides.

Also Read: Telangana CM Revanth Reddy gears up for cabinet expansion 

Resolving issues more important

The resolution of these issues is all the more important now since the umbilical cord that kept the states together was severed on 2 June, when Hyderabad ceased to be the joint capital of the two states as per the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganization Act, 2014.

When Naidu suggested in his recent letter, that a meeting of the chief ministers of the two states would be in the interests of both states, Revanth Reddy readily agreed, inviting Naidu to Praja Bhavan on the appointed day of 6 July.

There is now no atmosphere of rancour as it used to be when the YSRCP was in power in the state and Chandrababu Naidu was in the saddle between 2014 and 2019. At that time the people of Andhra felt wounded after the central government divided the state disregarding their opposition.

Besides this, Chandrababu Naidu who came to power in the truncated state of Andhra Pradesh, had too many issues on his plate to bother about than the issues between the two states.

Naidu had to focus on the construction of Amaravati and Polavaram Projects, which are the most important projects for the badly mauled and bruised state of Andhra Pradesh.

After Jagan Mohan Reddy, who is considered a friend of K Chandrasekhar Rao took over as the chief minister in 2019, nothing much could be done to resolve the issues between the two states.

After the debacle of the BRS in the 2023 Assembly elections in Telangana, Revanth Reddy who became the chief minister, set his eyes on the pending issues between the two states.

He had even stated that he was for conciliation rather than confrontation and that he wants answers to the issues that had been defying a solution for the last 10 years.

Also Read: BJD sides with Opposition, YSRCP with NDA over criticism of PM’s speech

Political dynamics, challenges

Though it was not clear who would come to power in Andhra Pradesh as the Assembly elections were scheduled along with Lok Sabha polls, Revanth Reddy, who took over in December in 2023, said that he did not mind who would be at the helm after the elections in AP and that he was eager to start a dialogue.

In 2024 general elections, it was the TDP which vanquished Jagan Mohan Reddy, making matters much easy.

The present Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu happens to be Revanth Reddy’s political guru. In fact, he was product of Naidu’s TDP school. Revanth Reddy who grew under the TDP umbrella joined the Congress after the TDP lost its relevance in Telangana.

The other issues that might be discussed at the meeting would include the transfer of 144 employees back to Telangana, who were originally allotted to Andhra Pradesh at the time of the state’s bifurcation.

Though Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation has been divided between the two states for the purpose of administration, its assets remain a bone of contention.

The previous BRS government insisted that they belonged to the Telangana since they were located in the newly formed state while Andhra Pradesh sought a share in them.

In fact, Revanth Reddy wanted to discuss the thorny issues in a cabinet meeting and even scheduled one for 18 May. However, it could not take place due to the Model Code of Conduct in force for the Lok Sabha elections in June.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj)

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