To thwart a revolt among Congress Members of Parliament from Telangana ahead of voting on the issue of Foreign Direct Investment in retail, the government has convened a meeting of political parties from Andhra Pradesh on December 28.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that he has given an assurance to MPs from Telangana region who met him earlier in the day. The move appears to be aimed at mollifying the agitating MPs to ensure their support during the FDI vote scheduled later on Wednesday.
The meeting came close on the heels of the reports that a revolt appeared to be brewing in Congress, with several party MPs from Telangana on Tuesday skipping a crucial meeting called by party floor leaders in Parliament on the FDI vote. A few of them even met Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrashekar Rao.
The meeting with Rao, who has openly announced that he will vote against the UPA government in Lok Sabha on the FDI issue, was seen as an embarrassment to the Congress and the government.
Adding to the suspense was intense speculation that a few Congress MPs from Telangana were planning to quit the party and join the TRS, which has been spearheading the protest for a separate Telangana state in recent times.
The MPs, who have been openly protesting against the Congress and the UPA government on the non-decision over the demand for a separate state, had also kept up the suspense over their voting in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Tuesday's meeting was called by Home Minister and Leader of Lok Sabha Shinde and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath to seek their assurances on their vote in favour of the government.
The Congress has issued a three-line whip asking its MPs to be present in Parliament and vote in favour of the government.