New Delhi, Feb 24 IANS | 5 months ago

The formation of Telangana was a matter of commitment and has nothing to do with the Lok Sabha elections, union Minister Jairam Ramesh said Monday.


"This process has been on as you know for 60 years, more recently it's been on for 10 years... it's a promise and a commitment that we made in 2004... it has taken 10 years... it has taken an extraordinarily long time to create the consensus and environment," Ramesh said in an interview to CNN-IBN news channel.

The Congress leader said that even now there were divisions within his own party.

"But we have gone ahead because of the commitment made in 2004 and the demand goes back to 1955 in the state reorganisation commission which had recommended the formation of a separate state of Telangana."

The minister, who was a key strategist in getting the Telangana bill passed in parliament, refused the contention that the bill lacked consensus.

"No, I don't think that's right. We have had numerous all-party meetings, we have had numerous confrontations with all political parties, political parties have changed their stands. Congress is the only party that has stuck to its stand," he said.

Ramesh said it was his personal view that Uttar Pradesh should also be reorganised.

"This is my personal view and not the view of the Congress party and the government of India, but I believe that UP with its current architecture is ungovernable. It's a state of over 200 million people, 74 or 75 districts, 800 blocks... no political party can govern UP," he said.

Asked if he felt Uttar Pradesh should also be broken up into smaller states, he said: "I am all for the reorganisation of UP. It could be two or three or four, that needs to be looked at, but UP as currently configured is simply not possible to be governed effectively and sensitively."

"I think we need to look at UP. This is where the heartland of India lies and in the States Reorganisation Commission, there was a specific recommendation for carving out a separate state of Agra."

On whether 30-40-year-olds will suddenly become decisive figures in politics, he said: "Why not? Rajiv Gandhi became prime minister at 40. Indira Gandhi became PM at a young age. At 59, I ought to be history because there are people in their 30s and 40s knocking at the door, and they ought to be given a chance in the leadership."

"And when you have a 43-year-old leader, I don't think you should have 60 and 70-year-olds advising him," he said, referring to party vice president Rahul Gandhi.

(Posted on 24-02-2014)