Sonia,PM reach out to agitated ministers

Party spokesperson Meem Afzal said the “decision has been taken after the widest possible consultations”.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi | Published:October 5, 2013 12:54 am

After making it clear that the decision on Telangana would not be rolled back,Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh Friday reached out to ministers who resigned in protest.

The Congress chief gave an audience to M M Pallam Raju,who explained that he had no choice but to quit as HRD minister given the sentiment in Andhra Pradesh against the division,while the prime minister asked MoS for Railways Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy to rethink his decision when he came to submit his resignation.

That apart,the Congress top brass is trying to convince ministers to stay put with an assurance that the concerns of Seemandhra will be addressed through a financial package,sources said. The leadership also conveyed to the agitated leaders that their individual interests would be taken care of.

“We are trying to convince them. We were expecting the storm. They knew we would not go back on the Congress Working Committee’s decision. But we understand their constituency compulsions,” a senior Congress leader said.

The Congress is reconciled to the fact that the Telangana decision would cost it heavily in Seemandhra,a party leader said,so it won’t mind individual MPs and ministers taking a stand against the bifurcation for that might help cut the losses. Yet,the sources said,the party is worried Jagan Mohan Reddy could poach its disgruntled leaders. At least four MPs have resigned the Congress’s primary membership as well.

In public though,senior Congress leaders make light of the storm. “We will take them into confidence. After all,whenever there is bifurcation of a state,such feelings are there. It is natural. But we have to console them. We will try to console them,” Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said.

But all party leaders are unequivocal about this: the decision on Telangana is final.

Party spokesperson Meem Afzal said the “decision has been taken after the widest possible consultations”.

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