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Telangana waits for Congress to make up its mind

Source: PTI
September 19, 2012 18:14 IST
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The vexatious Telangana statehood issue is hanging like a Damocles' sword on the Congress' head. It is still unable to take a call on whether or not to grant statehood to the region though it's off and on releasing signals that something is going to happen.

Soon after the by-elections in March to seven assembly seats (including six in Telangana), everyone thought the "decisive moment" has arrived but six months down the line the Congress is still keeping everyone guessing.

Now, there is again talk -- and anticipation -- that the "decisive moment" is round the corner and that the Telangana "dream" will soon become a reality.

However, given the turmoil that the UPA government is facing following the Trinamool Congress' decision to quit the coalition, it is not clear whether the Congress will take any step forward towards Telangana.

Quite unusually, Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrasekhar Rao has been camping in New Delhi for the past fortnight, reportedly lobbying with the Congress top leadership to make an announcement on Telangana.

The TRS has given enough indications that it was ready to merge with the Congress if the 'T' state is created, as promised by the Centre on December 9, 2009.

KCR, the self-styled torch-bearer of Telangana movement, is under pressure from the pro-statehood groups -- notably the Joint Action Committee -- and the planned Telangana March in Hyderabad on September 30 has only put him in further fix.

KCR held confabulations with Union Minister Vayalar Ravi twice in the last week and reportedly urged the latter prevail upon Sonia Gandhi to come out with an announcement on Telangana.

That has not happened but the Congress unofficially sent out a teaser that an all-party meeting would soon be convened on the contentious issue.

This is seen as a Congress' ploy to cool down frayed tempers as Hyderabad is set to host the prestigious International Convention on Biodiversity from October 1.

With the heat picking up on the issue, ahead of the planned Telangana March, ministers from the region wrote a cursory letter to their party supremo pleading with her to take a decision on the statehood issue "immediately".

MPs from the region also raised a similar demand while extending support to the 'T' March.

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party, which is facing an existential crisis in the region due to its ambivalent stand, has decided to clear the air and notify its stand afresh.

TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu held a series of talks with his party colleagues from Telangana and Andhra-Rayalaseema regions and told them that a fresh letter would be sent to the Centre affirming the party's stand on the statehood demand.

TDP sources say the letter would be reiteration of its stand taken in 2008 -- that it was "not against" Telangana.

The party, however, did not speak anything officially on the issue.

The YSR Congress, whose stand is also being sought by the Centre as it has emerged as a potent political force in the state, has already said it respected the "sentiments" of Telangana people but it was for the Centre to take a final decision on the statehood demand.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy wants the Centre to clear the uncertainty but at the same time asserts that no one can force it in this regard.

Lok Satta Party president N Jayaprakash Narayan lashed out at Congress and TDP, accusing them of keeping the contentious issue burning only to serve their "short-term political interests".

"The state has suffered very badly because of the indecisiveness. Industrialists are running away from Andhra Pradesh," he pointed out.

It's a fact that the main parties, Congress and TDP, are divided along regional lines on the state bifurcation issue but -- like all other parties -- they too want the stalemate to end.

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