Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday elicited the views of their junior cabinet colleagues and Congress leaders from Andhra Pradesh on the Telangana statehood demand, which has virtually divided the party on regional lines.
Mukherjee and Chidambaram met Minister of State for Human Resource Development D Purandeswari and Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju separately in New Delhi during which they sought to know their views on the contentious issue.
Both Purandeswari and Raju hail from the coastal Andhra region. Congress leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions are opposed to formation of a separate Telangana state.
The consultation process came a day after Mukherjee, Chidambaram and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad deliberated on the Telangana issue at length amid indications that protesters in the region would intensify their agitation for a separate state.
The process is also seen as an attempt to get the views of party leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions on the statehood demand. After the meeting, both Purandeswari and Raju said they expressed their opinion on the issue. "They asked us to give our opinion. I gave mine and also spoke about people's apprehensions," she said.
Raju said besides giving his opinion, he told the leaders that the "impasse" should end soon and an early decision on the issue should be taken.
The ministers are expected to interact with Pradesh Congress Committee chief B Satyanarayana and other leaders of the party later in the day. Actor Chiranjeevi is also rushing to the capital.