Congress delays decision on Telangana

The Congress on Wednesday indicated that a decision on Telagana may not come within the one-month timeframe, set by the UPA government on December 28.

“When one says tomorrow, it does not mean tomorrow morning. When one says one week, sometimes it is two weeks,” Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is also in-charge of political affairs of the party in Andhra Pradesh, said while responding to media here, when pointed out that the Centre’s one-month deadline on the issue was getting closer.

He suggested that the one-month deadline should not be taken so literally and declined to set any deadline for decision on the issue, saying what was important was that the Congress high command was making “serious efforts” to resolve the issue “as early as possible”.

Azad’s response came after Congress president Sonia Gandhi held a meeting with senior party leaders at her residence here on the issue. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and Ahmed Patel were present at the meeting besides Azad.

On December 28, Shinde had said that government would take a decision on the issue within a month, setting the time frame.

As the deadline is getting closer each day, both pro and anti-Telangana statehood leaders and groups from Andhra Pradesh are lobbying here to get their respective demands fulfilled.

Stepping up pressure on the UPA government on the issue, political leaders from both Telangana and Seemandhra regions met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in separate delegations on Tuesday to press their respective demands.

Leaders from Seemandhra, who disfavour the demand for Telangana state, met Singh in the morning and sought to impress upon him the need to keep Andhra Pradesh united for its all-round development. They also met Azad with their demands.

A delegation of five ministers and 18 MLAs from Telangana region earlier called on Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and made it clear before him that nothing short of a separate state would be acceptable to them.

Many leaders were still camping in Delhi as part of their strategy to step up pressure.

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