Hectic consultations on Telangana at highest levels

Hectic consultations were on at the highest levels in government over Telangana as the one month deadline set by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde approaches amid speculation over various options to resolve the tangle.

Among the various ideas, one is said to be the creation of a territorial administration on the lines of Bodoland and Gorkhaland for the backward region.

On December 28, after an all-party meeting, Shinde had announced that the government would make an announcement on Telangana within a month.

Two separate delegations from Telangana and outside Telangana regions met several central leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, today articulating their views on the sensitive issue but got no assurance from anyone.

MPs from Seemandhra (non-Telangana region) met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the morning and demanded the Centre should not take any decision that would affect the unity of Andhra Pradesh while asking the government to look at the sixth option (united Andhra Pradesh) recommended by Justice B N Srikrishna Committee.

The MPs also met Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress General Secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, and put forth the same demands.

A delegation of five Ministers and 18 MLAs from Telangana region met Shinde separately and told him that nothing short of a separate state would be acceptable for them.

As promised by the Home Minister, the government is expected to make an announcement offering financial packageand special status for 10 backward districts of Telangana region after amending the Constitution.

Like Bodoland and Gorkhaland Administrative Areas, the Telangana region may get an autonomous body with more financial and administrative powers, official sources said.

By offering an autonomous body, the Centre would avoid bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh as well as stop any possible demand for creation of Bodoland by bifurcating Assam and Gorkhaland after splitting West Bengal.

Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has sent around 5,000 additional paramilitary force personnel to Andhra Pradesh to assist the state government to deal with any situation arising out of any announcement by the Centre.

Last week, the Centre had reviewed the law and order situation in Andhra Pradesh and directed the state government to take all possible steps to maintain peace.

Union Home Secretary R K Singh took stock of the security situation in the state with Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Minnie Mathew, DGP Dinesh Reddy and Intelligence wing chief Mahendra Reddy here.

They discussed how to handle the repercussions if any announcement, either way, is made and possible implications -- both short-term as well as long-term.

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