Congress hints at more meets to resolve T-tangle

Talks could take place before August 5

Congress hints at more meets to resolve T-tangle

Amid the hype and hope over a separate Telangana state, the Congress on Friday indicated that two to three more party meetings would be required before taking a final call on the issue.

While pro-Telangana leaders in the Congress have raised the pitch for a separate state, those in favour of a united state are trying to impress upon the party leadership that it would be difficult for the state Assembly to pass a resolution to this effect.

The pro-Telangana leaders feel that an Assembly resolution on a separate state could be a possibility if such a direction was given by the Congress high command. A senior Congress leader maintained that there was no decision yet on calling a meeting of the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body, to discuss the issue. 

There were indications that the Congress would also like to hold wider consultations with its allies before taking a final decision.

Another leader said the much-awaited meeting could take place before the monsoon session of Parliament which begins on August 5.

A minister said the government was keen that a decision on the Telangana issue should be a “collective decision” and not by an individual party, an indication towards convening an all-party meeting to discuss the matter. “There is no decision yet either way,” he said.

The Congress core group met at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday amid speculation that it was expected to discuss the Telangana issue.

However, party sources said the meeting discussed matters related to the monsoon session of Parliament. Creation of a separate Telangana state might trigger similar demands from other regions including Uttar Pradesh, where the Assembly has already passed a resolution to divide the state into four smaller states.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Thursday said a decision on Telangana “this way or that way” could be taken soon.

The series of meetings within the Congress indicate that the leadership is worried about the fallout of the vexed issue on the Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections. Telangana has 119 of the Assembly’s 294 seats and 17 of Andhra Pradesh’s 42 Lok Sabha seats.

A section of the Congress leaders feel that the party would fare badly in Andhra Pradesh in case the state remains united with the fledgling YSR Congress making significant gains.

It feels that by carving out a separate state, the party could salvage the situation and hope to remain in contention in the Telangana region. Meanwhile, the YSR Congress has accused the Congress of handling the Telangana issue in a “unilateral” and “haphazard” manner.

“Should the state (people) abide by the decision taken by the Congress? Is there no need to take opposition parties into confidence and seek their opinion? Where were these discussions held and who were the participants in these discussions,” YSR Congress Party MLAs said in a letter to Union Home Minister Shinde.

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