New Delhi: The Congress core committee Friday discussed the report by party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on the demand for carving a separate Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh and decided to hold further consultations on the issue, party sources said.
Amid mounting pressure from pro-Telangana groups whose agitation for a separate state continued for the 18th day on Friday, Congress’ top brass, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi, met here. This was the first core group meeting attended by Gandhi after her return earlier this month from the US where she underwent a surgery for an unspecified ailment.
Party sources said that a decision will take some more time as more consultations are necessary on the issue. The meeting took place within hours of AICC General Secretary Azad presenting a report to Gandhi on the Telangana issue prepared after consultations with party MLAs and MPs from Andhra Pradesh. Azad was among the special invitees at the Core Group meeting which has Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony and Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Gandhi, as members. Earlier, Chidambaram said that more time was needed. “He (Azad) has told them (MLAs and MPs) that allow a little time for the party to take a decision and the government to take a decision,” the Home Minister said. Congress is caught in a tricky situation in Andhra Pradesh with the Telangana region observing an indefinite bandh over the issue of separate statehood, a demand being opposed by Coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions of the state.
Party leaders from Telangana are camping here for the last few days to press for the demand of separate statehood. TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao, spearheading the agitation, is expected to meet Mukherjee here tomorrow. Rao and a delegation of Telangana political Joint Action Committee (JAC) were headed for Delhi to press for an early decision in favour of the separate statehood for Telangana.
The delegation would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other important leaders including Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, Rao told reporters in Hyderabad. Meanwhile, normal life was disrupted due to the day-long Hyderabad bandh called by the Telangana Political Joint Action Committee as part of their ongoing agitation for a separate state.
Shops, business establishments were closed at many places in the city. Schools and other education institutions have already declared holidays for the Dusshera festival.
With pro-Telangana employees of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) already participating in the ‘Sakala Janula Samme'(strike by all sections of people), RTC buses remained off the roads.
The Andhra Pradesh Government announced that it will not pay salaries to employees and teachers from Telangana region who have been taking part in the strike for the past 18 days. The Government had constituted a high-level Committee headed by former Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna to go into the issue. (Agencies)