Amid continuing protests over the creation of a separate Telangana state, Union ministers from the Seema-Andhra region met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi and expressed the "sense of deprivation" prevailing in Andhra and Rayalseema regions.
During the meeting on Tuesday, Gandhi told them that a committee of three senior leaders will be formed, which will look into their grievances, as the ministers told her about apprehensions among people in their constituencies.
The ministers, including M M Pallam Raju, K S Rao, K Chiranjeevi, J D Seelam, Panabaka Lakshmi, D Purandheswari and Kruparani Killi, are learnt to have raised the demand that Hyderabad should be retained as permanent common capital of two Telugu-speaking states on the line of Chandigarh.
Two other Union ministers from the region, K C Deo and Kotla Jayasurya Prakasha Reddy, were not part of the delegation.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Chiranjeevi said Gandhi assured them that the grievances of the people from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions will be taken care of. "What we said that you have to take care of the interest of both. It should not be that you have taken care of only Telangana. Among Andhraites, there are a lot of apprehensions. And those people, who are having their interest, their future, their life and everybody's life in Hyderabad and surroundings. You have to protect their interests," Chiranjeevi said.
Asked whether they are demanding that Hyderabad be made a common capital of Telangana and Seema-Andhra on the line of Chandigarh, he said "that's what we are insisting on or a model like Delhi. It has to be there. The lieutenant governor should take care of it. These are the things we are discussing." He said the party is setting up a three-member committee to look into these grievances, which will be announced by All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge for Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh.
To pacify the leaders from the Seemandhra region, the Congress has set up a high-level committee headed by A K Antony, sources had said on Monday.
The committee, of which Digvijay Singh is also a member, has been tasked to pacify the agitating members of two regions.
Asked about the issues they have taken up with Gandhi, Pallam Raju said "We went and represented about all the agitations that are going on (in Andhra and Rayalseema regions. Our people are feeling insecure because of some of the pronouncements made by Telangana leaders and there is a feeling of deprivation... We represented those matters..She (Sonia Gandhi) said that she will be announcing the committee and she wanted us to express our opinion to that committee."
"It will be a committee of party leaders, which the general secretary be announcing...we have explained the current situation," Raju added.
The talk in the party is that the Congress central leadership is keen that its ministers from Andhra Pradesh do not press their resignation. The ministers are also planning to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the three resolutions passed in Hyderabad on Saturday. One of the resolutions had demanded reconsideration of Telangana state decision and asked Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to quit.