Pawar bats for T-state, raises issue with PM

Delay in formation of state wont be helpful, he says

Making a strong pitch for separate Telangana, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that a delay in the matter would not be helpful.

The NCP chief said he raised this issue with the prime minister, becoming the first UPA-constituent to openly come out in support of an early decision on Telangana, and was expecting a meeting of the UPA to be held soon.

Talking to reporters, Pawar insisted that the Congress was also “generally pro-Telangana”.

“The question (to create a separate state) is that of timing.... We want Telangana as early as possible. A delay will not be helpful to us,” Pawar said.

The Union agriculture minister said his party has been supportive of separate Telangana for long and had even held a rally with TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao a few years ago.

Pawar, whose party is also a major partner in the Congress-led coalition in Maharashtra, said that the NCP has no objection if Vidarbha region also becomes a separate state. “We will not come in the way.”

Pawar expressed ignorance when asked whether the budget session of Parliament beginning this month was a consideration for delaying a decision on Telangana.

The remarks of the NCP chief came close on the heels of the Congress saying that it was not against the formation of Telangana and the government was in the process of taking a decision.

“Congress is not against the formation of Telangana state. We are in the process of taking a decision but then formalities have to be completed,” party spokesperson P C Chacko had said on Wednesday.

MPs’ threat

Congress MPs from Telangana have threatened that they will send their resignations to Speaker Meira Kumar if urgent steps are not taken for formation of a separate state.

On the impact of granting statehood to Telangana on Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, Pawar said: “I do not see any impact. Our view is if the people want it, we will not come in their way”.

To a query whether Jagan Reddy’s YSR Congress could also have ties with the Congress like NCP, he said: “I do not know their equation with the Congress. But Jagan will be important force that one has to accept in this case, particularly in Andhra Pradesh.”

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