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'Agitation has forced Centre to rethink on Telangana'

Hyderabad, Sep 14 (PTI) 16:30 IST
Police firing teargas shells to stop pro-Telangana students of Osmania University who were protesting against the Seemandhra activists in Hyderabad on Saturday. PTI Photo
Claiming that the 46-day-long agitation in Andhra-Rayalaseema for a united Andhra Pradesh has forced the Centre to do a rethink on the bifurcation decision, Union Ministers and Congress MPs from the two regions today remained evasive on the demand for their resignations.

They, however, maintained that people were more important than the (Congress) party and they would act according to the people's wishes.

The Union Ministers and MPs from Seemandhra, who held a two-and-a-half hours meeting here today, said they would meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi soon and apprise her of the growing demand for retaining unity of the state.

They would also request the AICC-appointed four-member committee, led by Union Defence Minister A K Antony, to visit the state for an on-the-spot assessment.

"For 46 days now, people from all walks of life, including children, have been peacefully agitating demanding that Andhra Pradesh be kept united. It's by far the largest such agitation in the world, voluntarily led by the people without interference of any political party or leader. The agitation has forced a rethink on the Centre," Union Textiles Minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao told reporters afterwards.

He said that the Centre hastily came out with a statement on December 9, 2009 on dividing the state only due to fear that Telangana Rashtra Samiti president K Chandrasekhar Rao, who was on hunger strike, might die.

"But that proved to be a drama and we established that people were strongly in favour of a unified state. Accordingly, the Centre issued another statement on December 23, 2009 keeping the state division process on hold," he said.

"Many political parties did not like the Srikrishna Committee report (which came subsequently) which basically suggested that the state be kept united," the Union Minister said.

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