M A I N   N E W S

Cong undecided on Telangana, turns to AP parties 
Aditi Tandon/TNS

New Delhi, August 5
The government today said political consensus was eluding the demand for statehood for Telengana and urged political parties to take a position so that the process of consultations could move further.

Of the eight registered political parties in Andhra Pradesh, the Congress, the TDP, the YSR (Congress) and the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Musalmeen are undecided on the matter.

Also for the first time since the Srikrishna Committee charged with suggesting solutions to the problem submitted its report, the government admitted in the Lok Sabha that the committee had also appended to its report a “secret chapter” whose contents couldn’t be made public, the matter being sub judice.

Chidambaram made the admission after Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, while calling the government’s attention to the issue, quoted from a judgment of the Andhra High Court that said the panel, in its secret chapter, advised the UPA against conceding to the demand of Telangana.

“The committee went to the extent of advising the government to manage print media which depended on them for advertising revenue,” Sushma quoted from a judgment which Chidambaram said was “not operative” and was under review of a Division Bench of the HC. Admitting to the presence of secret chapter, he challenged the authenticity of a suicide note Sushma today read in the House.

While she attributed it to Yadi Reddy, a youngster from Telengana who killed himself in Delhi recently lusting for his state, Chidambaram said he could not assert the note’s genuineness and appealed to the Andhra youth not to resort to such extreme steps and wait for consultations to be over.

To date, only four parties in the state have taken a view on the issue, the Home Minister said, “The TRS, the CPI and the BJP support statehood and the CPM opposes it. We urge other parties to decide so we can call an all-party meeting and take the process further.”

The motion transformed into surcharged political debate with Andhra Congress members attacking the BJP of politicking on Telengana despite having zero representation in the area. Soon, they were sparring among themselves, with Sarve Skahti Narayana from the Telangana region claiming statehood as “imminent” and KS Rao from coastal Andhra protesting.

Earlier, when Sushma rejected the Srikrishna report asking the UPA to bring the Telengana state Bill, Chidambaram reminded her of her party’s old position articulated in the April 1, 2002, statement of the then Home Minister LK Advani who said, “Regional imbalances can be corrected by proper resource management. The government doesn’t propose a separate state for Telangana.”

“Notwithstanding your old position, we are ready to consider that you now support the demand for Telengana state,” the Home Minister said, subtly charging the BJP with doublespeak. He also defended his December 9, 2010, statement which said the process of consultation for the creation of Telangana would be initiated, and said the statement reflected government sentiment though later, on December 23, it had to be withdrawn following deep divisions over the issue in Andhra.





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