Suspense over Telangana ahead of Congress core committee meet Friday

New Delhi/Hyderabad, July 11 (IANS) The Congress' core committee is holding a crucial meeting in New Delhi Friday evening amid indications that it will take a decision on the demand for separate Telangana state.

Party general secretary Digvijaya Singh said the core committee meeting would deliberate the Telangana issue. He made it clear that there would be no further delay in taking a decision on the contentious issue.

Amid an air of expectancy among leaders in Telangana and anxiety in Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra regions), Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, his deputy Damodar Rajanarasimha and state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana reached the national capital Thursday.

The three leaders will submit their reports to the core committee, which is likely to take their views into consideration before taking a final decision on the issue.

The three heard the views of the leaders of all three regions separately before making a roadmap. Party sources said they have explained in their reports the advantages and disadvantages of dividing the state.

They undertook the exercise after Digvijaya Singh visited the state last week and directed them to prepare a roadmap on the strategy to be adopted by the party and the government if a decision is taken either way.

Leaders from Seemandhra urged both the chief minister and state Congress chief to make a strong case before the leadership for keeping the state united while their counterparts from Telangana underlined the need for the leadership to respect the sentiments of the people of the region with the formation of separate state.

Kiran Kumar Reddy hails from Rayalaseema while Satyanarayana comes from Andhra. Both are believed to be against the state's division. The deputy chief minister, who is for a separate Telangana state, prepared a roadmap after consultations with ministers, MPs and other party leaders from the region.

The leaders from Telangana had organised a public meeting in Hyderabad June 30 to urge the leadership to abide by Dec 9, 2009 statement on Telangana.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had announced that the process for formation of Telangana state would be initiated. However, following mass resignations by the MPs and state legislators and protests in Seemandhra, the central government put the process on hold, citing need for a consensus.

As the people keep their fingers crossed, a section of ministers and Congress leaders from Seemandhra have made it clear that state's division would not be acceptable to them.

Congress leaders opposing state's division met at the residence of Rajya Sabha member K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao in Delhi Thursday to chalk out their future course of action. A

delegation of the leaders led by state minister S. Sailajanath met Digvijaya Singh. "No alternative to a united state is acceptable to us," he told reporters after the meeting.

Samaikya Andhra or united Andhra students' Joint Action Committee has called for a shutdown in Seemandhra Friday to oppose any move to divide the state.

A delegation of pro-Telangana students also called on the central leader. Some state ministers and other leaders from Telangana region have also reached the national capital. They hope that the leadership would take a favourable decision.

Meanwhile, protests intensified in various parts of Seemandhra Thursday to demand the central government keep the state united. Political leaders, students and people from various walks of life took out rallies, opposing state's bifurcation.

Leaders of government employees from Seemandhra held a meeting in Hyderabad, opposing any move to divide the state. They made it clear that the state's division would not be acceptable.

Telangana Non-Gazetted officers' association, which is supporting the demand for Telangana state, has asked their counterparts from Seemandhra not to provoke the people of the region.

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