Cong top brass skirts decision on Telangana

Party to make a move only after consulting CWC

Cong top brass skirts decision on Telangana

Keeping up the suspense on Telangana, the Congress high command on Friday put off a decision on the separate statehood issue after hearing top leaders from Andhra Pradesh. A final call will be taken by the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

The Congress core group, at a meeting chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi, gave a patient hearing to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, his deputy Damodar Rajanarasimha and state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh were also present.

“The Congress party has held widest consultations with all political parties, with all leaders and finally the core group has now met. Now, the Congress party shall call the CWC and will take a decision,” Singh, who is in-charge of the party affairs in the state, told reporters after a two-hour meeting.

Congress sources said no decision was taken at Friday’s meeting. There would be two to three more meetings, they added, but did not elaborate on the level at which the deliberations will take place.

Sharp divisions within the state leadership became evident before Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, as the chief minister, who is from Rayalseema, strongly opposed formation of a separate Telangana state. Reddy said there could be mass resignations in the party if a separate state is formed.

It is learnt that Rajanarasimha made a strong case for Telangana. He asserted that there was no justification for delaying the announcement. There was a strong sentiment in favour of a separate state, he added.

Satyanarayana is understood to have said a separate state could be created as a last resort.

The chief minister and the PCC chief did not meet the media after the meeting, but Rajanarasimha sounded optimistic. “We are optimistic. We are hopeful. We expect a decision very very soon,” he said. State leaders claimed that a date for the CWC meeting could be announced as early as Saturday.

Leaders from Andhra Pradesh, who are divided into pro and anti-Telangana groups, are camping in the capital, meeting the top leadership to push for a decision in their favour.
A number of leaders from the Telangana region met at the residence of party MP Ponnam Prabhakar on Friday.

The MPs – Prabhakar, Madhu Yaskhi Goud, Sukhender Reddy, S Rajaiah, Suresh Kumar Shetkar and others – also held a meeting at the residence of AICC secretary and senior leader from the region V Haumantha Rao. They met Digvijay Singh and Ahmed Patel, Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary.

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