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Cong says not against Telangana
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 30
The Congress seems to be veering around the view that the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh is inevitable despite Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s refusal to set any further deadline on the formation of a separate state of Telangana today.

In its first emphatic statement on the issue, the Congress today said it is not against Telangana but a final decision will take some more time as consultations with all stakeholders are still on.

5 MPs quit Cong  

New Delhi: Five of the six Congress MPs from Telangana resigned from the party late on Wednesday night to press for the creation of a separate state. The five sent a joint resignation letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi through a "courier". Those who sent in their resignations are: Manda Jagannatam, Ponnam Prabhakar, S Rajaiah, Vivek Reddy and Surinder Reddy. PTI

“The Congress is not against the formation of Telangana state. It’s a matter of time as we have to take into account the views of all stakeholders. The talks are at a serious stage,” party spokesperson PC Chacko told mediapersons today.

This is the first time that the Congress has taken such a categorical view on the issue. Faced with deep divisions within its own ranks, the party had so far refrained from spelling out its stand.

“We have taken a position. Our party position is very clear. But whatever decision has to be taken has to fulfil some constitutional obligations,” Chacko added.

Congress insiders say the first step is to get a resolution passed in favour of division of the state in the Andhra Assembly. However, this is not easy as the Congress legislature party is deeply divided on the issue with MLAs from the Rayalseema and coastal Andhra regions firmly opposed to the creation of Telangana.

The Centre also has to take a view on the status of Hyderabad as neither side is willing to let go of the capital city.

In fact, the Centre was forced to defer a decision on the issue last Sunday after a section of MPs against Telangana threatened to switch allegiance to Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress.

But the failure of the government to keep the January-28 deadline set by Shinde has triggered fresh protests in Andhra Pradesh by those demanding a separate state.

The Congress finds itself in a serious bind as its MPs from Telangana are waiting to submit their resignations to party president Sonia Gandhi to press their demand.

With the budget session of Parliament less than a month away, the Congress cannot afford any fissures in its ranks at this stage.

Yet there is a growing realisation in the Congress top brass that it has to resolve the Telangana tangle at the earliest as the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are due in mid-2014.

While there is a fear that granting Telangana will lead to similar demands from other states, especially for Gorkhaland, the Congress is also aware it will pay a heavy political price in Andhra Pradesh if it fails to do so.

The BJP-led NDA and other political parties will use this as an election plank, putting the Congress at a disadvantage.

Those batting for Telangana say if a new state is granted, the Congress will be able to salvage the situation as the TRS Congress may merge with it, enabling the two to win a bulk of the Lok Sabha seats in this region.





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