Decision on Telangana in final stage: Digvijaya Singh

Hyderabad, July 1 (IANS) A decision on Telangana issue is in final stage and will be announced as early as possible, said Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh.

He told reporters here Monday evening that there are only two options before the government - united Andhra Pradesh or formation of a state of Telangana, thus putting to rest speculations that Rayala-Telangana, comprising Rayalaseema and Telangana regions of the state, may be created or a union territory status given to Hyderabad.

Digvijaya Singh stated that a decision will be taken as soon as possible, but refused to set any deadline, saying several such deadlines were set in the past.

He asked Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha and state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana to prepare a road map on what should be the strategy if a decision is taken either way.

"The road map is basically what should be the political strategy and the administrative action if a decision is taken either way. Both the government and the party have to be prepared for this," he said.

"The process has started," he remarked when asked about Dec 9, 2009, statement by the central government. "We had said it will be referred to Andhra Pradesh assembly," he added.

Digvijaya Singh said while moving a resolution in the state assembly is the normal process for creating a separate state, such a resolution will not be binding on the central government.

"A decision will be taken in the best interest of the nation, in the interest of state and in the interest of the welfare of people of Andhra Pradesh," he said.

"I have experience of formation of Chhattisgarh state which was created out of Madhya Pradesh. Separation is not an easy decision and the issues of division are also quite intricate," he added.

Stating that the Congress had promised second state reorganization commission in 2004 elections, Digvijaya Singh said unfortunately it could not be set up.

On his first visit to the state after assuming charge of the party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, he held meetings with the office bearers and also presided over the meeting of coordination committee.

He noted that his predecessors Veerappa Moily and Ghulam Nabi Azad had widest consultations on Telangana issue at all levels. The central leader said the party faced the political challenge of 2014 elections.

He said the Congress owed it to people of Andhra Pradesh for giving a massive mandate in both 2004 and 2009 elections.

Earlier, Congress leaders of Telangana and Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra) separately called on Digvijaya Singh. While Telangana leaders sought an early decision on carving out the separate state, their counterparts from Seemandhra urged the leadership not to bifurcate the state.

State ministers, members of parliament and the state legislature from Seemandhra submitted to Singh a resolution passed at their meeting last week, opposing the state's division.

One of the ministers, S. Sailajanath, told reporters later no alternative to united state would be acceptable to them. Some leaders even said they were ready to make any sacrifice to keep the state united.

Another minister, T.G. Venkatesh, said Digvijaya Singh advised them to submit to the chief minister and state Congress chief the advantages and disadvantages of division of the state.

Leaders from Telangana submitted to Singh a copy of a resolution passed at their public meeting in Hyderabad on Sunday, appealing to the central government to immediately carve out Telangana state. They said the government should abide by Dec 9, 2009, statement.