Cong U-turn on Telangana

Cong U-turn on Telangana

Decision only after wider consultations

Cong U-turn on Telangana

In an angry reaction to the Centre’s backtracking, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhar Rao announced in Hyderabad that MPs, MLAs and other elected representatives of the region will submit their resignations and a 48-hour bundh, beginning on Thursday, will be observed. “Chidambaram’s statement amounts to putting the Telangana issue on the backburner. We have been betrayed once again by the home minister,” he said.

Just as swiftly as he had announced on December 9 the Centre’s intent to begin a process on creating a separate Telengana, Home Minister P Chidambaram made it clear that his government would take the next step towards giving birth to Telangana only after holding “wide-ranging consultations with all political parties and groups in the state”.

Indicating that the Centre was in no hurry, he said the government would “take steps to involve all concerned in the process”.

Govt’s plea
The Centre also urged the people of the different regions of Andhra Pradesh, all political parties and students to withdraw their agitations.

“It is necessary that peace and harmony are restored in Andhra Pradesh and the state government allowed to focus on governance and development,” Chidambaram said.

On Wednesday, Chidambaram defended his earlier announcement, saying it was based on “consensus that emerged on the question of formation of a separate State of Telangana” in an all-party meeting convened by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah two days earlier.

“However, after the statement, the situation in Andhra Pradesh has altered. A large number of political parties are divided on the issue,” he said.

A government statement on Telangana was expected ever since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday that a decision would soon be taken to bring “everything in order”.

Though Congress president Sonia Gandhi held meetings with the party’s ‘core committee’ – Singh, Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony and her political secretary Ahmed Patel – over the past few days, the government was finding it difficult to draft a statement that could appear satisfactory to all.

Congress MPs from Telangana had written to the prime minister on Tuesday warning him against diluting the Centre’s stand on the proposed state.

Party MPs from coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions also mounted pressure on the government to slow down the process of dividing the state.

Mukherjee, Chidambaram, Antony and Patel finalised the draft during a meeting on Wednesday. The home minister made the statement after it was approved by the Congress president and the prime minister.