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In capital clash, Naidu’s a ‘guest’

Naidu

Hyderabad, July 7: Chandrababu Naidu is “just a guest in Hyderabad”, Telangana’s ruling TRS has said and accused the Andhra Pradesh chief minister of trying to “usurp control” of the joint state capital in connivance with the Centre.

“Chandrababu Naidu is our guest and can stay in Hyderabad as long as he wants. The Telangana government is ready to provide him all hospitality but also ready to face problems created by him by exploiting his Delhi connections,” said K. Tarakarama Rao, Telangana minister and son of chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

Hyderabad has been a bone of contention since the bifurcation plan was announced last year. But Tarakarama Rao’s “guest” swipe would have been particularly galling for Naidu as he has flaunted the city’s development, especially its IT-driven boom, as a personal achievement as chief minister in the 1990s. Naidu has often said “I have made Hyderabad what it is today”.

The latest controversy was triggered yesterday by a Union home ministry circular seeking the Telangana government’s concurrence to formally entrust governor E.S.L. Narasimhan with law and order in Hyderabad. The city will be the common capital for 10 years for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Although the bifurcation law, passed by Parliament in February this year, empowers the governor to take decisions on the city, “consulting” the two state governments was a “courtesy”, officials said.

But that was not how both sides saw the move. While Naidu hailed it and wrote to the Centre backing the measure, Chandrasekhar Rao shot off a letter to Union home minister Rajnath Singh and dubbed the plan an “interference” in the state’s rights.

The ministry circular has proposed a board, with the police chiefs of Hyderabad and neighbouring Ranga Reddy districts, that will directly report to the governor on all matters related to law and order, besides postings and transfers of cops. This is in line with the bifurcation law, the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, which vests the governor with a “special responsibility”.

“The governor shall have a special responsibility for the security of life, liberty and property of all those who reside in the common capital of Hyderabad. The governor’s responsibility shall extend to matters such as law and order, internal security and safety of all vital installations. This transitory provision shall cease to have effect after such period not exceeding 10 years,” the act states.

Naidu cited the provision at a meeting of his Desam MPs last night. “The right to appoint the commissioner of police should rest with the governor and the police force in the common capital should have people and resources from both states so that there is no bias,” a Desam MP quoted Naidu as saying.

The Telangana government disagreed, with minister Tarakarama Rao claiming it has “complete and undisputed authority over the Hyderabad administration, both in municipal and police matters”. “The government will not accept and tolerate the NDA government’s attempts to usurp our authority in the name of the joint capital,” the minister said, adding Narendra Modi as a long-time chief minister should know that law and order was a state subject.

Chief minister Chandrasekhar Rao has asked TRS MPs to oppose the Centre’s move in Parliament. “The TRS MPs must highlight the efforts of the Andhra Pradesh chief minister (Naidu) to usurp control and power in Hyderabad,” he told a meeting of his party’s MPs yesterday.