NEW DELHI: The fight for Telengana today flared up as the government deferred a decision on the demand by pro-Telangana groups for a separate state.
In a brief statement, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said: "The consultation process on Telangana issue is on. It may take little more time to reach a final decision."
At an all-party meeting Dec 28, Shinde had said the government will decide on the issue within a month.
Calling it a betrayal and accusing the Congress of once again cheating the people, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) decided to launch an agitation targeting Congress ministers, MPs and state legislators in the Telangana region.
TRS leader K. Tarakarama Rao demanded resignation of all Congress MPs and ministers to pressurize the central government to concede their demand.
Leaders of Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), which launched two-day protest in Hyderabad Sunday, the BJP, Communist Party of India (CPI) and Telangana leaders of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) condemned the statements of Shinde and Azad.
Hundreds of Telengana activists gathered after police granted permission to the Telangana JAC to hold demonstrations in the Andhra capital till Monday.
The BJP accused the Congress of "betrayal" saying it was "playing with the sentiments" of the people of Telangana.
"This is nothing but betrayal. The will of the people of Telangana who are protesting in a democratic and sane manner is not being respected. The Congress and centre are making the whole process a mockery," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters in Delhi.
Health Minister and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Azad, who is in charge of Andhra Pradesh, said: "More consultations are needed on the issue."
Azad said Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayan and senior state leaders from all regions of the state to Delhi for further consultations.
"It was for the union home ministry to fix a real time-limit for a decision on the vexed issue," he said.
There were mixed reactions to their statements from the Congress leaders in Telangana. Some MPs said they were disappointed but hoped that the centre would soon take a positive decision. "We will meet to chalk out our future course of action," said S. Rajaiah, one of the MPs.
State minister K. Jana Reddy was hopeful that despite the delay, Congress would take a decision in tune with the aspirations of the people of Telangana.
Congress leaders from Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra regions), who were actively lobbying against the state's division, hailed the central government's announcement. State minister G. Srinivasa Rao said it was clear from Shinde's statement that the state would remain undivided.