TDP agrees to join JAC, Congress ministers in Delhi

TDP agrees to join JAC, Congress ministers in Delhi

TDP agrees to join JAC, Congress ministers in Delhi

Andhra Pradesh MLA's during a meeting with Union Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy over the Telangana issue, in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI

Rallies and protest demonstrations were held across the state for the fourth consecutive day in support of Telangana state.

A group of Telangana supporters "barged" into the office of noted film producer Allu Aravind, a brother-in-law of Chiranjeevi, in Hyderabad and pasted banners in support of Telangana on the walls.

Prof K Kodandaram, convener of the JAC formed last week to intensify agitation for the separate state, said leaders of main opposition party TDP agreed to join the panel.

Several TDP MLAs from Telangana region also attended a scheduled meeting of the JAC that has so far consisted of TRS, Congress, BJP and a large number of outfits fighting for separate statehood.

Kodandaram said the TDP has agreed to join the Commitee on the only condition that the partner parties should not indulge in criticism against each other.

Meanwhile, ministers from the Telangana region, who have sent their resignations to Sonia Gandhi, arrived in New Delhi to hold discussions with top leadership and demanded that the Centre should set a "time-frame" for the formation of a separate state.

Information and Tourism Minister Geeta Reddy told reporters at the Delhi airport, "We are here to ask the Centre and the Congress party to come out with a time-bound programme for the creation of a Telangana state."

The ministers are likely to call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to convey the sentiments of the people of Telangana over the December 23 statement by Home Minister P Chidambaram on the statehood issue.

The ministers met Union Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy at his residence in New Delhi and held discussions with him over the issue. Reddy also hails from the Telangana region.

Small Scale Industries Minister D K Aruna told reporters in Hyderabad before leaving for Delhi that "absence of a time-frame to carry out consultations on the Telangana demand led to the protests. We are confident that the top leadership would deliver the separate state."

An attempt seems to be made by Congress to gain dominance in the JAC with party leaders deciding to hold a meeting on December 29 to discuss its participation in the Committee.

"We have to discuss the size of the JAC. Ours is a national party. We have 13 ministers, 12 MPs and 70 MLAs and MLCs. We are meeting on Dec 29 to discuss how to participate in the JAC," senior Congress MLA R Damodar Reddy said.

He expressed confidence that realisation of the separate statehood goal would be possible only with Congress support.

Meanwhile, the TRS received a shot in the arm when rebel party MP Vijaya Santhi returning to its fold.

"We have removed the suspension on our MLA Aravinda Reddy. We want other leaders who quit to return to the party," TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao told reporters at his residence in Hyderabad flanked by Vijaya Santhi.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Osmania University here, the nerve-centre of the separate Telangana movement, today decided to organise a convention of students on January 3.

"The Centre should clearly announce the steps for formation of separate Telangana state by January 2. We will organise 'Telangana Vidyardhi Maha Garjana' (Massive roar by Telangana students) on January 3," leaders of JAC said.

"We will flood Hyderabad with students from all Telangana districts. The convention would be organised in such a way that the state and Central governments would shiver," they said.