Hyderabad, June 27: Thousands of paramilitary troops have begun arriving in Andhra Pradesh, triggering excitement on both sides of the Telangana divide.
Some are hoping that the long-awaited decision on the statehood demand may now come sometime soon. The alternative view is that the Centre only wants to pre-empt a flare-up, since the various deadlines set by the states parties have now passed without Delhi announcing its mind.
The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which has been leading the statehood agitation with the BJP as partner, had recently issued a threat.
We are patiently waiting for the Centres announcement but if they fail us this time, the consequences will be disastrous, TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao told a TV channel.
We keep our fingers crossed every day till our children return home safely, said M. Shailaja Seeta, a TV programme director whose daughter and son are enrolled in engineering colleges in Hyderabad.
The Centre has so far avoided setting a date for its announcement. After the Srikrishna committee suggested six options, including statehood, on December 30 last year, the UPA government had called a meeting of all Andhra Pradesh political parties in Delhi.
It later said it would call another all-party meeting after the April-May Assembly polls in five states. It hasnt called any yet, causing the states parties to grow impatient.
Sources in the director-general of polices office here said 55 paramilitary companies arrived last week and another 50 companies were expected this week. Altogether, the Centre and the Andhra government plan to deploy 120 companies (1.2 lakh personnel) across the state, they added.
Delhi has asked the state to station the central forces not only in Hyderabad and other Telangana districts but also in Rayalaseema and the coasts to prevent any violence by united-Andhra campaigners.
Emotions are running high not only in Telangana but also in the Seema and Andhra (coastal) regions, said senior Rayalaseema Congress leader J.C. Diwakar Reddy.
The Telangana agitation has always teetered on the edge of violence, although all sides in the battle have held their peace so far this year. Osmania University had been in turmoil last year but, after terming the Srikrishna report a sellout, the students had given Congress lawmakers from the region a chance to persuade Delhi to agree to statehood.
Teams of Congress MPs, MLAs and ministers from Telangana have visited Delhi three times since the Assembly polls to plead for a speedy decision but returned empty-handed.
Coastal Andhra leaders say that separating the backward Telangana region would drive it deeper into misery.
Telangana is what it is today (its economy has been rising fast) only because of the huge investments from coastal industrialists, said Lagadapati Rajagopal, industrialist and Congress MP from Vijayawada.
He claimed that a vast number of youths from Telangana were now studying in the coastal districts to protect their academic careers from being disrupted by agitations.