As anti-Telangana protests crippled Seemandhra region with 30,000 electricity department employees going on strike against the Centre’s decision to bifurcate the state, prime minister Manmohan Singh met union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and finance minister P Chidambaram to find ways to salvage the fast deteriorating situation.
The power crisis virtually paralyzed the region with the port in Vishakhapatnam, the Air Traffic Control and the steel plant shutting down. Sources said the functioning of the naval dock has also been affected. The power crisis has hit at least 13 districts by bringing several important consumer services to a halt. The strike has forced cancellation of several trains.
Meanwhile, curfew remained in place in restive Vizianagaram town following large-scale violence.
The police have so far arrested 34 persons in connection with the violence.
As inputs pointed out that the situation is going to worsen by the day and protests would spread to other places, sources said there is deep introspection within the government if it has bitten more than what it could chew by taking a hasty decision on creation of Telangana. But it also knows that going back is not an easy option now, sources said.
In the nearly hour-long meeting, unions ministers from Seemandhra, D Purandeswari, Surya Prakash Reddy, Chiranjeevi and Pallam Raju asked the PM to accept their resignations as continuing as ministers has become untenable for them in the current scenario.
Meanwhile, Shinde’s deputy RP Singh said there is no scope for “reconsidering” the proposed creation of Telangana.
Within the home ministry, the mandarins also jostled their heads on how to deal with the explosive situation in Andhra Pradesh whose aftershocks can reach Assam, West Bengal and even Manipur movements for separate statehoods are sharpening their claws to demand their pound of flesh.
Situation in Bodoland Territorial Area District in Assam, in particular, can become volatile as it is already simmering within because of recent incidents of communal and ethnic clashes.
Sources said the government was briefed in detail not only about the immediate fallout but also about the security scenario with regard to Maoist situation. A secret note prepared by the MHA for the cabinet had warned the government that the new state of Telangana would become a safe haven for Maoists.