In the midst of mounting pressure from both pro and anti-Telangana leaders, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ahead of the crucial United Progressive Alliance and Congress working committee meetings to take a final decision on the separate statehood issue.
The meeting came as leaders from both groups continued with their pressure tactics even as the leadership was veering towards a decision for creation of a separate state. MPs and union ministers from the Andhra region including
Human Resource Development Minister M M Pallam Raju, JD Seelam, D Purandeshwari and Panabaka Laxmi on Tuesday met All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge for Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh to register their protest over creation of Telangana.
"I think the core committee has discussed the matter at length. And they are all worried about it that whatever decision they may take is going to have a long-term implication on Andhra Pradesh.And that is exactly what we come to express our apprehension about with the general secretary," Raju, who hails from the Seema-Andhra region, said after the meeting.
Seelam said whatever information has come about the creation of Telangana is in the media and a decision is yet to be announced officially and hence they have expressed their concerns to the general secretary in-charge about it. At the same time, he said there was no question of leaving the Congress and "we will abide by the decision."
In another development, 10 Congress ministers from the state belonging to Telangana region have landed in Delhi and are meeting a number of party leaders including Congress president to press for their demand.
Asked about Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy's opposition to the bifurcation of the state, state Information Minister D K Aruna, who hails from Telangana region said, Reddy is taking the decisions.
"This is a UPA government and Sonia Gandhi will take a final decision," she said, expressing hope that the 50-year struggle will bear fruit.
Union Ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde, P Chidambaram amd Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was the earlier AICC general secretary in-charge for Andhra Pradesh, and party leaders Digvijay Singh and Ahmed Patel had a meeting with the Congress president at her residence after Gandhi's meeting with the PM.
Ahead of the UPA meeting on Telangana, Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh said the decision should have been taken long back. Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister and a prominent Congress leader from Telangana C Damodar Rajanarasimha said, "Everything will be settled today. They are 100 per cent positive. Telangana is going to be a reality with Hyderabad as the state capital."
Asked about the dispute on the issue, he said, "There is no dispute at all. Kindly don't create dispute, don't create apprehensions. There are no apprehensions, there is no dispute at all."
Union Minister Chiranjeevi, who had met Dr Singh on Monday along with other central ministers hailing from the coastal Andhra region said, "A final decision has not been taken. We are trying to keep Andhra Pradesh united."
Union ministers from the Andhra region Raju, Seelam, Purandeshwari, K S Rao and others also met Gandhi at her residence to express their reservations.
The Andhra Pradesh chief minister also arrived in the national capital in morning. A number of state ministers, MPs and MLAs hailing from the Telangana region called on Reddy at Andhra Bhavan and requested the Chief Minister not to do cooperate in the creation of Telangana.
Reddy is known to have expressed his reservations against the creation of Telangana and speculation was rife about his having offered to resign. Reddy is likely to meet the Congress president over the issue.
Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary, however, stoutly rejected the reports, terming them as a "canard" spread by vested interests. "I am very sorry that such a vastly distorted news is put out without being substantiated. There was no question of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Reddy saying that he would resign. He may have expressed his opinion, his emotional pain. Nothing other than that. His father has been a Congressman.”
"There is no doubt that despite his personal opinion, if the high command takes some decision on some issue, he will stand by that," Chowdhary said.
The spokesperson said that she was "alarmed" that there was talk of the CM's resignation and suspected that it could be a "canard being spread by vested interests" as local bodies' elections are scheduled in the state and this could impact the party.
Chowdhary, who also hails from the Telangana region, and is considered not to be in favour of the creation of a separate state said this was a "very complex" situation. "I can't speak for anyone else...this is a very complex situation. I am sure that all the party managers, general secretaries, who have been dealing with the issue, must have take all this into consideration. Otherwise the repercussions will be felt by all of us," she said.
State ministers D K Aruna and Sunita Laxmi Reddy and MP Ponnam Prabahakar were among the Telangana leaders, who met Reddy. The Telangana leaders will also be meeting PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana.
After the meeting with Gandhi, Union Minister Raju, who was accompanied by other ministers from the Andhra region, said they have expressed their "concern" regarding the formation of Telangna. "We have expressed our concern. We have requested the party high command to take a responsible decision," Raju said after meeting Gandhi.
Expressing his disapproval over the move to create a separate state, Communist Party India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat said after this decision by the UPA government, a demand for separate state will be raised everywhere.
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah will also participate in the UPA meeting.