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Anxiety ahead of Telangana report
Srikrishna Committee to submit report tomorrow
PM discusses fallout, Centre dispatches troops to AP
Channels asked not to telecast speculative stories
Tribune News Service

New Delhi/Hyderabad, Dec 29
As the December 31 deadline for Justice Srikrishna Committee’s report draws closer, a sense of anxiety has gripped political circles in Andhra Pradesh over the fallout of the five-member panel’s recommendations on Telangana statehood issue.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called an emergency meeting of his senior Cabinet colleagues to review the impact of the report’s release in Andhra Pradesh and in other parts of the country. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister AK Antony and Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, apart from senior PMO officials, were present.

Besides political and law and order fallout in Andhra Pradesh, the meeting, as per sources, discussed the appointment of a nodal spokesperson to detail the media about the report’s content.

Also, the meeting is said to have discussed the “creation of smaller states”. The pros and cons of dividing Andhra Pradesh and how it (division) would impact the pending demands for the carving of ‘Vidarbha’ and ‘Harit Pradesh’ out of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, respectively, was discussed .

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni met Home Minister P Chidambaram today and suggested that a nodal spokesperson be appointed to make an announcement about the contents of the report. Also, she appealed to the media to abide by the guidelines of the National Broadcasters Association and not to telecast “speculative stories” about the report’s content.

Besides, the Centre has dispatched additional 50 companies of paramilitary forces to Hyderabad for deployment in Telangana region.

State DGP K Aravinda Rao said: “We are fully prepared to tackle the situation from a position of strength. However, Central forces will be used only in the event of riots and arson breaking out. As a matter of caution, we have requisitioned them.”

Apart from growing fears over possible violence in an already volatile Telangana region, there is also a speculation over mid-term elections if the Centre refused to initiate the process for bifurcation of the state.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, who has been in the forefront of statehood movement, asked his party cadres to be prepared for snap polls. The sub-regional party has threatened en masse resignations if the UPA government failed to introduce a bill on Telangana during the Budget session of Parliament.

The Telangana protagonists within the ruling Congress have also threatened to quit their posts for the statehood cause. Political observers say that in such an eventuality AP may well head for a spell of President’s Rule and mid-term elections.

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