Poll factor weighs high on T-row
Signalling that a decision on the Telangana issue was not far away, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Saturday held discussions with Andhra Pradesh Director-General of Police Dinesh Reddy on the law-and-order situation in the state.
Shinde is also understood to have sought an assessment from Reddy about the fallout of the Centre’s decision if it decides to carve a separate Telangana state or keep Andhra Pradesh united.
The Congress has also entered the final round of intra-party consultations on the vexed issue, even as the pro-Telangana factions and those in favour of a united Andhra Pradesh mounted pressure on the central leadership for their respective demands. The Telangana issue is expected to be discussed at the Congress Core Group meeting on Friday next, where a date for the Congress Working Committee is likely to be finalised.
The intra-party meetings on the issue are likely to take place next week once AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh reaches the capital.
A senior Union minister said the Congress and the government were under tremendous pressure to expedite a decision on the Telangana issue.
“They have to take a decision either way soon. This issue cannot be dragged on for long, as the electoral fallout would be bad for the Congress,” said the minister, a new entrant to the Union Cabinet.
A possibility widely discussed is the formation of a separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as the joint capital of the two states for a period of 15 years. But this proposal has run into stiff opposition from those favouring united Andhra Pradesh. The Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) has said that Hyderabad as a joint capital or a Union territory is not acceptable to it.
A section of the Congress leadership believes that the party will have to pay the electoral price for the indecision on the vexed issue. If the state remains united, the Congress is likely to cede ground to the YSR Congress Party launched by renegade leader Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.
There is a view in the AICC that the party can regain some lost ground by forming a separate Telangana state and benefit electorally in the region.
The creation of Telangana state is a one-point agenda of the Telangana Rastra Samiti, led by K Chandrashekhar Rao . Once that is done, Rao has promised to merge his party with the Congress.
However, the Congress has also been encouraging the TJAC to come to the forefront on the issue and hoping to project a separate Telangana state as a fruit of their efforts, in case a decision to split Andhra Pradesh is taken.