Decision on Telangana deferred yet again

Telengana protest
A decision on the Telangana statehood demand was deferred today with the Centre and Congress saying there was need for "further consultations" which will take a "little more time" even as pro-Telangana activists intensified their agitation.

On the eve of the one-month deadline set by him to arrive at a decision on the contentious issue, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and the Congress spoke on similar lines seeking more time to resolve the matter.

While Shinde said it may take some more time to reach a final decision, Congress General Secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad made it clear that "further consultations" with leaders from Andhra Pradesh are required.

"On Telangana issue, consultation process is on. It may take little more time to reach a final decision," Shinde said in a brief statement.

Azad said: "We need some more consultations with senior leaders of Andhra Pradesh of all three regions and for that we shall have to invite them here. We are also going to invite the Chief Minister and PCC chief for further consultations."

"There is no deadline but we will invite them as early as possible," he said when asked whether there is any deadline for the meeting.

Shinde had on December 28, 2012 said the Centre would announce a decision on the contentious issue in a month. However, Azad had last week indicated that the decision may be delayed.

Even before the announcement came, pro-Telangana activists launched a 36-hour protest programme in Hyderabad to mount pressure on government to concede to their statehood demand.

Scores of pro-Telangna leaders and activists, including TRS MLA K T Rama Rao, were taken into custody at different places when they attempted to march towards the protest venue but were allowed later after the Government intervened.

The state government gave in to the demand of agitators this morning though police yesterday denied the permission fearing the possibility of anti-social elements sneaking into the 'deeksha' camp.

MLC Chukka Ramaiah and balladeer Gaddar among other statehood supporters met Andhra Pradesh Home Minister Sabitha Reddy seeking permission to organise the 'samara deeksha' and assured her that the agitation would be peaceful.

On the Home Minister's direction, the activists met Hyderabad police commissioner Anurag Sharma and put forth their demand, sources said.

After permission was granted, a large number of statehood supporters, along with T-JAC Chairman M Kodandaram and leaders of different Telangana groups, BJP and CPI, assembled at the Indira Park.

Telangana MLAs and MLCs, holding a dharna in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Andhra Pradesh Assembly premises against police for denying permission, proceeded towards Indira Park, to participate in 'samara deeksha'.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed on the Osmania University (OU) campus when a group of pro-Telangana students pelted police with stones when they were prevented from taking out a rally towards Raj Bhavan.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has been holding hectic consultations with her senior colleagues like Azad, Shinde, Vayalar Ravi and Ahmed Patel for the past few days.

The Core Committee of the Congress had met yesterday and discussed the issue, but no decision was taken.

The meeting of the Congress Core Group deliberated exclusively on the vexed issue at a time when Andhra Pradesh is divided on regional lines on the issue.

The party high command has been grappling with the issue as there has been no unanimity among the top leaders.

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