While there was divergence of views on the demand for the creation of Telangana state at the Congress core group meeting on Friday,the ruling party is learnt to be inclined to bite the bullet considering the strong sentiments in its favour in the region. If Andhra Pradesh is bifurcated,said sources,Hyderabad would be made capital of the new state,although it is yet to be decided whether it could be made the joint capital for a certain number of years.
Congress sources asserted that a final call is yet to be made and the Congress core group will meet a few more times to deliberate over the issue and work out the nitty-gritty before the Congress Working Committee meets to put its stamp of approval. Sources said the party leadership is inclined to wait for the results of panchayat elections later this month to assess the performance of pro-Telangana parties before taking any final decision on this issue.
Incidentally,Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also attended the core group meeting although he was said to have left it to senior leaders to take a final call. It was the first time that Rahul attended the core group meeting,indicating his increasing involvement in the decision-making process.
Despite strong reservations expressed against the states bifurcation by many senior leaders at the core group meeting,the party leadership is learnt to be inclined to concede to the demand for a separate state. But given the fact that the party has been oscillating from one end to another on this issue since 2004,sources said nothing can be predicted until a formal announcement is made.
Most of the senior leaders who attended the core group meeting,including Digvijaya Singh,Ghulam Nabi Azad,A K Antony and Sushil Kumar Shinde,were learnt to have reservations against the states bifurcation.
Their concerns,sources said,emanated from their assessment that creation of Telangana could lead to revival of Naxalism in the region and re-ignite similar demands for Vidarbha,Bodoland and Gorkhaland regions. They were also learnt to be of the view that the BJP would stand to gain in the new state.
Emerging from the meeting,AICC general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijaya Singh said a meeting of the Congress Working Committee would be convened to finalise the partys stance. The Congress core group,which met at Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs residence,heard the views of Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy,state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana and Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha. Reddy,who is from Rayalseema region,is learnt to have expressed strong opposition to creation of Telangana while his deputy who is from the Telangana region favoured bifurcation of the state.