New Delhi/Hyderabad, Aug 21 (IANS) Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi Wednesday called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi amid increasing demand from a section of Congress leaders in Andhra Pradesh for union territory status to Hyderabad in the event of the state's bifurcation.
The MP from Hyderabad is understood to have conveyed his party's strong opposition to the idea of Hyderabad as union territory or a permanent capital of Telangana and Seemandhra.
The meeting assumed significance in the wake of intensified consultations by the Congress party to find a way to take forward its July 30 decision to carve out separate Telangana state.
In view of the continuing protests and strike by government employees in Seemandhra, a section of leaders are demanding union territory status to Hyderabad.
The party, which is a key political force in Hyderabad with seven assembly seats and one Lok Sabha member, is strongly opposed to the demand.
Addressing a public meeting in Hyderabad Aug 16, Asaduddin Owaisi had warned the central government of massive protest if it made Hyderabad a union territory or a permanent joint capital of two states.
MIM had been opposing the state's division. However, it also had expressed the view that if bifurcation becomes inevitable a separate state Rayala-Telangana, comprising Rayalaseema and Telangana regions, be formed with Hyderabad as the capital.
Owaisi's meeting with Sonia Gandhi came a few hours after Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy called on her.
It was MIM chief's first meeting with Gandhi after the party snapped its ties with United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the centre and with the Congress party in Andhra Pradesh. He had said Kiran kumar Reddy's "communal behaviour" forced his party to take the decision.