Veering towards conceding the demand for a separate Telangana, the Congress has convened a meeting of its working committee, the party's highest policy-making body, on Tuesday after deliberations on the issue in the United Progressive Alliance coordination committee.
Highly placed Congress sources said the coordination committee will meet at 4.00 pm followed by the meeting of the CWC at 5.30 pm. The high-level meetings are being called on the eve of the conclusion of the Panchayat polls in Andhra Pradesh.
These meetings come a time when the Congress high command is said to be inclined towards bifurcating Andhra Pradesh notwithstanding the opposition from within the party and its state leadership.
While the UPA meeting is an attempt to secure a stamp of approval of the constituents of the ruling alliance, the Congress working committee meeting is to take a final call after it gets the sense about the stand of the allies on the issue.
While the Nationalist Congress Party chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has already made a strong pitch for the formation of a separate Telangana, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh is a votary of smaller states and has been advocating for long the creation of Harit Pradesh out of districts of Western Uttar Pradesh, his home turf.
BJP president Rajnath Singh had on Sunday extended his party's support for the creation of Telangana. "We support the Telangana cause. The BJP is committed to forming the State," Singh had said.
BJP leaders have been saying that Telangana will become a reality if the BJP comes to power at the Centre after the general elections. Senior Congress leaders from Andhra Pradesh have gradually begun to accept that the Centre is heading towards dividing the State and many of them have warned the party’s central leadership of the many problems that could follow it.
On Saturday, Congress MPs and Union ministers from Andhra Pradesh including K S Rao, Chiranjeevi, M M Pallam Raju and D Purandeswari had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to oppose any division of Andhra Pradesh. Reports had it that a proposal to incorporate Anantpur and Kurnool districts in the proposed state is also being actively considered by the Congress. The proposal, however, has found no takers in Telangana region.
The Telangana Rashtriya Samithi has, however, said that it has opposed the
Rayala-Telangana idea and maintained that it wants Telangana with 10 districts and Hyderabad as its capital.