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Creation of new Indian state in limbo after rejection of bill

A provincial assembly in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh has rejected a bill for the creation of a new state called Telangana.

NEW DELHI: A provincial assembly in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh has rejected a bill for the creation of a new state called Telangana.

The latest move is seen as a major embarrassment for the Congress-led coalition government.

The government plans to table the Telangana Bill when the next session of parliament begins on February 5, but observers say recent objections could place the creation of a new Indian state in limbo.

The Indian federal government had approved the bifurcation of the southern state in October 2013.

But now it is facing a major setback as Andhra Pradesh lawmakers on Thursday passed a resolution moved by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to reject the creation of the new Telangana state.

However, the ruling Congress-led coalition government has chosen to downplay the rejection of the bill.

"As far as the resolution is concerned, it does not affect the Constitutional provisions under Article 3 for the creation of a new state in the Indian Union... the bill is sent for comments and not for a vote on the bill. There is no vote on the bill," said Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh.

Over the years, there have been numerous rallies for and against the formation of India's 29th state.

Those against the creation of a new state are ecstatic to hear the Andhra Pradesh assembly's rejection of the bill.

On the other hand, supporters of Telangana are confident the Congress-led coalition government will succeed in creating a new state which they believe is the only solution to their economic miseries.

"Now CM (Chief Minister) being here or not being here makes no difference for me because Telangana is going to be passed by the Parliament,” said K Chandrasekhar Rao, chief of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).

“The jurisdiction to look after the Telangana formation bill is now the Parliament of India, not with the assembly, not with the Chief Minister, not the speaker of the assembly. It is over now."

With a population of around 35 million, Telangana state, once created, would comprise 10 districts from the present 23 in the Andhra Pradesh state which will include the state capital city of Hyderabad.

The final decision on the new state will now be decided by the Indian parliament.

After dragging its feet over the Telangana issue for decades, the ruling Congress party now seems to be seeking to shore up its political fortunes ahead of the national vote due in May.

But it remains to be seen if the creation of this new state would actually boost the Congress party's momentum in the south. 

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