Sonia Gandhi warns united Andhra leaders

PM-SoniaPrime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi during the UPA meeting on Telangana at PM's residence in New Delhi. (PTI)

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have given a stern message to party leaders from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions to abide by the party decision to carve out a separate state of Telangana . She has also told leaders from the Telangana region to exercise restraint to ensure that the sharp divisions on the issue is not escalated into a full-blown crisis.

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Sources said Gandhi gave the message to a delegation of anti-Telangana leaders led by Union ministers Pallam Raju and D Purandeswari who met her before the Congress Working Committee meet on Tuesday in a last-ditch attempt to mount pressure to stall the decision. During the meeting, Purandeswari is learnt to have wondered how they will explain the decision to the people of Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.

"You will have to explain," was the terse response from Gandhi, the sources said. The message rang loud and clear and this perhaps explained the subdued reaction on the part of anti-Telangana leaders Wednesday.

The sources, however, said leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions are planning to meet her Thursday to discuss the next course of action.

On Wednesday, when Gandhi met a delegation of leaders from Telangana, the message for them was to maintain restraint.

The Telangana leaders comprising Union ministers S Jaipal Reddy and Balram Naik met both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Gandhi to thank them for deciding to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh.

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