Confusion over Congress stand on Telangana

Hyderabad, Dec 28 (IANS) Confusion prevailed over the stand taken by the ruling Congress party during Friday's all-party meeting in New Delhi over the Telangana issue. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said clearly that it was not against a separate Telangana.

Senior leader Gade Venkat Reddy, one of the two Congress representatives who attended the meeting, told reporters that the party voiced two opinions. While he opposed any division of Andhra Pradesh, his party colleague Suresh Reddy favoured a separate Telangana state.

Suresh Reddy claimed that after he expressed his opinion, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said the Congress stood for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, and that the party had taken a clear stand.

After the all-party meeting attended by representatives of eight parties and Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Shinde said the centre would take a decision in a month.

Congress leaders from Telangana and Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra regions) interpreted the party stand in their own ways.

While leaders from Telangana claimed that the party supported the creation of Telangana state, their counterparts from the two other regions maintained that the party voiced both views during the meet.

TDP, which had not taken a clear stand in the two previous all-party meetings, this time backed the demand for Telangana state.

TDP's senior leaders Y. Ramakrishnudu and K. Srihari said they handed over party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu's letter to Shinde.

They said TDP informed Shinde that there is no change in the party's stand taken in a letter submitted to the committee headed by Pranab Mukherjee in 2008. The party at that time had conveyed that it is not against the formation of Telangana.

YSR Congress party, however, did not take a stand. Its representatives told Shinde that it was for the centre to take a decision on the issue.

The remaining five parties reiterated their old stand. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demanded immediate steps for carving out Telangana state.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary B.V. Raghavulu told the meeting that while his party wants Andhra Pradesh to remain united, the centre should take an early decision on the issue.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi reiterated that the state should remain united but if division becomes inevitable a new state Rayala-Telangana, comprising Rayalaseema and Telangana regions be created with Hyderabad as capital.

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