Hyderabad: The Telangana government Saturday refused to vest control of Hyderabad’s law and order in the governor, setting the course for a confrontation with the Centre.
A day after the union home ministry sent a letter to the state government directing it to implement various norms to transfer powers of maintaining law and order in Greater Hyderabad to the governor, the state government wrote back saying it cannot implement the norms.
A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said the government rejected the Centre’s suggestion to entrust special responsibilities to the governor.
On the direction of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma dashed off a letter to the Centre, making it clear that he cannot implement the norms suggested by the Centre.
The letter pointed out that section 8(3) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act clearly says the governor should act on the advice of the council of ministers.
Earlier, the chief secretary met the chief minister Saturday morning to discuss the developments in the wake of the Centre’s letter.
Sharma later met E.S.L. Narasimhan, who is serving as governor of both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The Centre’s letter pointed out that under the Reorganisation Act, Hyderabad has been declared a common capital of the two states for a period not exceeding 10 years.
The Act has cast special responsibility on the governor with respect to law and order, safety and security of the people and vital installations as well as management and allocation of government buildings in the common capital.
The union home ministry suggested 13 norms to empower the governor.
The norms made commissioners of Hyderabad and Cyberabad and superintendent of police in neighbouring Ranga Reddy district accountable to him.
A special cell will be set up to deal with hate crimes and crimes related to extortion and another cell to deal with internal security and security of vital installations.
Terming the central government “fascist”, Chandrasekhar Rao rejected the direction.
KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known, also decided to convene a meeting of chief ministers of states ruled by non-NDA parties to protest what he calls infringement of constitutional rights of the state.
He made it clear that the state cannot implement the central government’s decision and termed it as a blatant interference in the state’s affairs.
KCR, who led the movement for a separate Telangana state and became its first chief minister in June, alleged that the Centre was trying to usurp powers of the democratically-elected government.
While rejecting the demand from leaders of Seemandhra (present Andhra Pradesh) to declare Hyderabad a union territory, the then Congress-led central government had agreed to entrust law and order in Hyderabad to the governor to address their concern about the safety of Seemandhra people living in the city and security of their property.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government has been opposing the Centre’s proposal to handover law and order to the governor on the ground that it is a state subject.
The TRS chief has asked his party leaders to raise the issue in parliament Monday.
Meanwhile, Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao said the Centre’s move was against the federal spirit. He asked the NDA government to reconsider its decision.
“It is unbecoming of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take such a step. Having served as the chief minister of a state, he should reconsider the decision,” said Rama Rao, son of the chief minister.
Deputy Chief Minister T. Rajaiah warned that if the move was not withdrawn, the TRS would be forced to launch another movement.
Finance Minister E. Rajender alleged that the Centre’s move was a conspiracy by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh and a partner in the NDA government at the Centre.
He said the Modi government was dancing to the tunes of the TDP.
The Congress, the main opposition in Telangana, also opposed the Centre’s decision. Senior leader and MP V. Hanumantha Rao said this would infringe on the rights of the state.