India protests against 'approval' of Telangana state

Andhra Pradesh government employee opponents of the creation of a separate state of Telangana carved out from the existing Andhra Pradesh state raise slogans during a meeting in Hyderabad, India, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013.
Image caption There have protests against the formation of the new state

Protests have been held in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh after the government approved the formation of the new state of Telangana on Thursday.

Media reports say that at least four federal ministers have offered to quit in protest against the decision.

Telangana would comprise 10 districts of the southern state, including the city of Hyderabad.

In recent years, there have been protests for and against the creation of India's 29th state.

Backers of the new state say the area has been neglected by the government.

Opponents are unhappy that Hyderabad, home to many major information technology and pharmaceutical companies, would become a shared state capital.

Telangana, with a population of 35 million, comprises 10 of Andhra Pradesh's 23 districts.

The state capital and India's sixth biggest city, Hyderabad, will be included in the new state, although for the first 10 years it will serve as the joint capital of the two states.

Protests against bifurcation

India's cabinet approved the setting up of the new state at a meeting on Thursday evening.

Soon after the announcement, those against the state's bifurcation staged rallies and held protests.

They have also called a 48-hour strike in the region, which is likely to shut down schools, colleges, public transport and businesses.

Reports say four federal ministers from Andhra Pradesh - M Pallam Raju, Kavuri Samba Siva Rao, Chiranjeevi and Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy - have offered to resign.

The final decision on a new state lies with the Indian parliament. The state assembly must also pass a resolution approving the creation of the news state.

Correspondents say the timing of the announcement is linked to general elections due early next year. Recent opinion polls have shown that the Congress party is struggling in the state, which has 42 parliamentary seats.

The move to create Telangana has sparked off similar demands in the states of West Bengal and Assam too.

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