The Congress is veering towards the idea of conceding the demand for a separate state of Telangana,but is yet to take a final decision. Sources said a final call was expected by the end of this month.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi was reported to have discussed the issue with senior ministers and party leaders today. Sources said most of the leaders who attended the meeting were in favour of bifurcating Andhra Pradesh.
Among those who attended the meeting were Sonias political secretary Ahmed Patel,Finance Minister P Chidambaram,Defence Minister A K Antony,Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde,union minister and AICC general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad,and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi.
We have not taken a final decision yet, asserted a senior party leader.
But sources said that while the Congress is inclined to support statehood for Telangana,the vexed issue of declaring Hyderabad as its capital remains unresolved. Among the options being considered are declaring Hyderabad a union territory or a joint capital for a certain time.
There is also a proposal to create a Rayala Telangana by including two districts from the Rayalaseema region,Anantpur and Kurnool,in the new state.
Although the Srikrishna Committee,in its report submitted in January 2011,had recommended a united Andhra with statutory measures to empower the Telangana region,sources said the situation had changed with the BJP firmly supporting a separate state,and even the TDP coming around to accepting this view.
Sources said Sonia is keen to resolve the stalemate.
At a Congress core group meeting before the monsoon session of Parliament,she was said to have asked,How long can we keep this issue pending?
A section of the Congress believes that creation of a separate state will help the party retain its hold in the region,which has 17 Lok Sabha seats. If the two districts of Rayalseema region are also included,the total number of seats will go up to 21.
With Jagan Mohan Reddys YSR Congress gaining strength at the expense of the Congress in Andhra Pradesh,the ruling party is apprehensive of a drubbing in the state in the next general elections. The state remains crucial for the party given that it won 33 of the total 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2009.
The Congress is also in touch with Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhar Rao,who has already declared that he is ready to merge his outfit with the Congress if his demand for a separate state is met.
While the Telangana Joint Action Committee has given a call for a Telangana march on September 30,the Congress plans to take a final call before the movement is revived.