PM reviews AP security

Though the five-member committee was due to submit its report to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram by December 31, speculation was rife that it might do so as early as Thursday. Chidambaram may not be in New Delhi on Friday as he is likely to visit Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang district on the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control that day.

Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony and Law Minister M Veerappa Moily as well as senior officials of the Prime Minister’s Office attended the meeting, which reviewed the government’s readiness to deal with the political implications as well as law and order consequences Andhra Pradesh may experience once the Justice Srikrishna Committee submits its report.

Mukherjee later met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and briefed her on the government’s preparedness to respond to any situation that might arise in the wake of report’s submission.

Chidambaram, too, had a discussion with Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, who later called upon TV news channels to exercise restraint and be very objective while reporting on the Srikrishna committee’s recommendations.
“All news channels have been requested to be objective,” Soni told reporters.

Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar convened a meeting attended by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Secretary Raghu Menon and Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary S V Prasad.

In Hyderabad, hectic political activity began with supporters of a separate state, including the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), holding a crucial meeting. TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao and other party leaders attended the meeting.

The Telangana Praja Front of Maoist sympathiser and revolutionary balladeer Gaddar also held a meeting here to review the situation ahead of the report’s submission. He condemned the curbs imposed by the Centre on the media for the coverage of the panel’s report.

Voicing his apprehension that the Srikrishna Committee may not recommend formation of Telangana state, Congress MP Madhu Yaskhi said: “If the committee makes a recommendation against the formation of a separate state, we will rise above party affiliations to launch an agitation.”

Srikrishna Committee Member Secretary V K Duggal on Tuesday made it clear that the panel would not deliver a verdict on the fate of Andhra Pradesh, but instead outline in its well-researched report several options to resolve the contentious issue, detailing the merits and demerits of each one.

With the panel likely to recommend road maps and time frames for the Centre to choose and implement options, the Congress-led UPA government is expected to tread cautiously, harping on evolving a broad consensus on the sensitive issue. Moily, in charge of the Congress affairs in Andhra Pradesh, is understood to have briefed the party’s top brass about the political implications of the report.

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