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Telangana: All set for decision, PM assures MPs

New Delhi, December 21
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday assured a delegation of Congress MPs from coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions that a decision on initiating the formation of separate Telangana state could be taken by Tuesday.

Briefing media after meeting Singh at his 7 Race Cource Road residence here, Eluru MP KS Rao said: "He (Prime Minister) said that he understands that it is a grave situation. He said he is sitting with his colleagues and by tomorrow a decision could be taken to bring things in order. We met the Prime Minister and explained to him that the situation in Andhra Pradesh is going out of control. A stage may come when even if the government wants to control the situation, it may not be possible.Ē The delegation comprising over a dozen MPs included Union Minister Panabaka Laxmi and Subbirami Reddy amongst others.

Rao further explained: "We explained the situation to the Prime Minister and requested him to make some announcement to bring solace to the people." He said that after the announcement by the Home Minister on Telangana, there is an apprehension amongst the people of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions that the process for the formation of Telangana has been initiated. Rao also maintained that the agitation against the creation of Telangana was spontaneous. ó Agencies

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Fasting MP flees hospital, surfaces in Hyderabad
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, December 21
The ongoing anti-Telangana agitation took a dramatic turn when fasting Congress MP L Rajagopal made a sensational escape from a hospital in Vijayawada and surfaced in the state capital under equally dramatic circumstances after keeping the police on tenterhooks for 15 hours.

The flamboyant industrialist-MP from Vijayawada, on indefinite fast in protest against the Centreís move to carve out separate Telangana, dodged a heavy posse of policemen and media and slipped out of a government hospital in Vijayawada last night.

As his disappearance triggered panic across the state, a worried Chief Minister K Rosaiah held an emergency cabinet meeting. Even as the cabinet meeting was going on, Rajagopal, clad in T-shirt, jeans and a pullover, got down from an auto-rickshaw at Nizamís Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) here at 1.30 pm, entered the hospital through rear gate and literally jogged his way to the acute medical care, again giving the police a slip.

A large contingent of police and media were waiting at the main entrance of NIMS as the MP was expected to surface there in view of his demand that he be shifted to NIMS for better medical care. The government had earlier rejected his plea on the ground that his presence in Hyderabad could create law and order problems because of threat from Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) activists. Rajagopal, who has been in the forefront of the movement for united AP, had originally planned to launch fast-unto-death from Hyderabad on December 15 but was arrested and shifted to Vijayawada where he began his hunger strike.

Following deterioration of his health condition, he was taken into custody and shifted to a government hospital on Saturday.

Minutes before fleeing the Vijaywada hospital, the MP had faxed a letter to Governor ND Tiwari, accusing the police of failing to shift him to NIMS despite the State Human Rights Commissionís directive. Holding the national flag in his hand, he came out of the hospital under the pretext of meeting journalists waiting in the premises. Then, in a jiffy, he got into a waiting vehicle and sped. Within minutes, he went missing. About 300 policemen, providing security to the hospital, were caught off guard. The vanishing act left the administration red faced. A massive manhunt was launched to trace the missing MP.

Travelling in disguise throughout the night, Rajagopal reached the city this morning and rested at an undisclosed location for a few hours before taking an auto-rickshaw to the state-run multi-specialty hospital.

Meanwhile, anti-Telangana protests continued in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions for the 12th day today.

Vijaywada DIG suspended

The Andhra Pradesh government today suspended Vijayawada Police Commissioner K V Rajendranath Reddy holding him responsible for the escape of Vijayawada MP L Rajagopal from hospital. "The failure and irresponsibility of police was glaring in Rajagopalís escape. There is a suspicion whether the police connived with him. An inquiry has been ordered into the whole issue," Chief Minister K Rosaiah said. DGP RR Girish Kumar also suspended six other cops. ó PTI

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