Seemandhra leaders to go ahead with Hyderabad meet

Hyderabad, Jan 16 (IANS) Congress party leaders from Rayalaseema and Andhra regions said they would go ahead with Thursday's meeting to oppose the proposed division of Andhra Pradesh here even as Telangana Jagruthi, the cultural arm of TRS, has threatened to disrupt it.

S. Sailajanath, who is leading the group which wants the state to remain united, said they would go ahead with the meet. "We have every right to express our views in a democratic manner. Nobody can stop us," Sailajanth, who is a cabinet minister in the state, told reporters Wednesday.

A group of ministers and Congress MPs from Telangana have also urged their counterparts from Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra) not to hold the meeting as it would amount to provocation. They said Seemandhra leaders should respect the sentiments of Telangana people and abide by the decision the centre would take on the issue.

Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy held a meeting with Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and apprise him of the situation in view of threats by some pro-Telangana groups to disrupt the meeting.

The home minister reportedly said while the government would not stop Seemandhra leaders from holding the meeting, she advised them not to make any statement, which may provoke a section of people.

Addressing a joint press conference, five ministers from Telangana urged Seemandhra leaders not to hold the meeting at a time when the central leadership was in the final stage of finding a peaceful solution to the problem.

K. Jana Reddy said Seemandhra leaders should bear in mind that Telangana leaders had been exercising caution for last three years despite the public pressure and also the insults they had suffer.

"Even after the two states are formed, Telugu-speaking will remain one. We should ensure that the division takes place in a peaceful manner and people of two states live in perfect harmony," he said.

Congress MPs from Telangana also urged the Seemandhra leaders not to hold the meeting as this would hurt the sentiments of Telangana people. Talking to reporters in New Delhi, they said the meeting would be considered an act of provocation.

Telangana Jagruthi president Kavita said they would not allow the meeting to be held in Hyderabad as it was a 'conspiracy' to stall the formation of Telangana state.

Kavita, daughter of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhara Rao, said they would not keep quiet if Seemandhra leaders tried to create hurdles in the formation of a separate state.

She threatened to mobilise her supporters from all 10 districts of Telangana to stop the meeting. "We demand the government to act and stop this meeting which is aimed at provoking the people of Telangana."

Ministers, legislators and other leaders from Seemandhra have decided to meet here Thursday to chalk out a strategy to keep Andhra Pradesh united.

The meeting is being held in the backdrop of the central government intensifying its efforts to find a solution to the Telangana problem by Jan 28.

Some ministers from Telangana claimed to have received indications that New Delhi had made up its mind to carve out Telangana. A group of Seemandhra leaders including ministers intensified their efforts Wednesday in the national capital to oppose proposed bifurcation.

They called on central leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Vayalar Ravi to inform that there would be protests in their regions if the centre decides to give separate statehood to Telangana.

Meanwhile, the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising various pro-Telangana groups, decided to hold a silent protest here Thursday to demand an announcement for the formation of Telangana state by Jan 28.

After a meeting with Congress leader K. Keshava Rao, JAC convenor M. Kodandaram said people from all walks of life would take part in the protest to be held at the martyrs' memorial near assembly building.

He appealed to Seemandhra leaders to drop their plans to hold the meeting.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said after the Dec 28 all-party meeting in Delhi that a decision on Telangana would be made within a month

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