Telangana meet today, no consensus likely


Indian Express | Yahoo News |Tue, Jan 5 2010 | 07:12 AM

On the eve of the first meeting convened by the Centre to hold consultations on Telangana, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and other pro-statehood camps on Monday flagged their determination not to allow any delay in the creation of India’s 29th state, but sharp divisions in other political parties suggested that the outcome could be a long-drawn process. Out of the eight recognised parties called by the Home Ministry, three (TRS, CPI and BJP) have openly voiced support for Telangana, two (CPM and Praja Rajyam) have publicly opposed it, two (Congress and TDP) have taken ambivalent positions while the MIM will take a stand only after seeing which way the meeting turns. At the meeting that will be attended by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah and chaired by Home Minister P Chidambaram, the TRS will cite the government’s December 9 announcement to demand that Telangana be created. “The government has announced its policy on Telangana. It should follow it up with constitutional process. A resolution should be moved in Parliament,” TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao told reporters after he called on CPI leader A B Bardhan here on Monday.

“It is a single-point agenda for us. Create Telangana under Article 3 of the Constitution,” TRS leader and former MP B Vinod Kumar told The Indian Express. The CPI too has favoured formation of Telangana, though it has made it clear that it is not in favour of other smaller states and has said it will oppose constitution of a second States Reorganisation Commission. “We support a separate Telangana. Its formation is      inevitable,” Bardhan said. The BJP is likely to use the meeting more to attack the Congress than express support for Telangana. Strong opposition to the bifurcation of Andhra is expected from the CPM, which has consistently opposed division of existing states as well as from the PRP, which has changed its stand in the wake of the “united Andhra” campaign. “We are opposed to creation of Telangana. Our stand is the same and there is no question of any change,” CPM Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said. PRP chief Chiranjeevi and former MP C Ramachandra are expected to raise issues like economic criteria and development needs to thwart statehood moves.

The ambivalence of the Congress and TDP, on the other hand, was illustrated by their decision to name one representative each from the Telangana and Andhra/Rayalseema regions, respectively. In fact, it was the apprehension that anti-Telangana lobby in the Congress which had steered the recent opposition campaign, which led the pro-statehood camp within the party to go for last minute lobbying. On Monday, pro-Telangana MPs and MLAs led by senior general secretary Keshav Rao and Hanumantha Rao called on several leaders, including Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Defence Minister A.K.Antony. The TDP, after a meeting of its politburo, made it clear that its strategy would be to train its guns at the Congress. “Our party has taken a categoric stand. It is the Congress which has flip flopped on the issue. Home Minster Chidamabaram mismanaged the issue because of which entire Andhra Pradesh is in a boil,” TDP’s parliamentary party leader Nama Nageshwara Rao said. Sources in the Congress felt that Chidambaram could cite divisions in the political parties to suggest a mechanism in the form of a committee that could hold further discussions with stakeholders and arrive at a final roadmap.

Centre should not interfere: Rajagopal

A day before the meeting of political parties on Telangana, Vijayawada MP L Rajagopal on Monday said the Centre should not interfere in the issue and leave it to the state to sort it out. “It is not right for the Union Home Ministry to interfere. We don’t want the Government of India or the Home Ministry to involve itself in Telangana issue. Can you accept third-party mediation in Kashmir? Similarly, we should have bilateral talks (between pro and anti-Telangana groups) in the state. We want the Home Minister to say (to all political parties) that you join the committee and come back only if you cannot reach a consensus,” Rajagopal told reporters here.

The state government had earlier set up a committee headed by the then Finance Minister K Rosaiah on the issue. Except the Congress and MIM, all political parties had stayed away from it. Now that Rosaiah is the Chief Minister, the committee has to be reconstituted. Meanwhile, AICC spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi indicated on Monday that the Tuesday’s meeting was not the final one and more such meetings would be convened to build a consensus on the issue.

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