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Decision on Telangana in a week, Pranab assures Congress leaders

Thursday June 16, 2011 12:28:46 AM, IANS

New Delhi/Hyderabad: Senior Congress leader and union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday night assured Congress leaders from Telangana that the party would take a decision on the statehood issue within a week.

The Congress leaders hoped the party would take a positive decision on their demand for separate Telangana state but warned the leadership that if it failed to do so they would be forced to chalk out their own action plan.

More than 50 leaders including MPs, state ministers and legislators met Pranab and Ahmed Patel, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's political adviser, in the national capital. The meeting lasted for 75 minutes as the two senior leaders gave a patient hearing to the delegation.

Satisfied with the talks, some state ministers and MPs told reporters that Mukherjee assured them that he would apprise Gandhi of their sentiments once she returns to Delhi.

After a 'disappointing' meeting with union Home Minister P. Chidambaram earlier in the day, the talks with Mukherjee and Patel provided some relief to the Telangana leaders.

They claimed the senior leaders agreed with them that a decision on the issue can't be delayed any further.

Telangana leaders, who have set June 30 as the deadline for the leadership to take a decision, warned that if it failed to take a positive decision soon the party would be wiped out in the region.

MP Madhu Goud Yaskhi said they made it clear that it was their last meeting on the issue. "We told them that we will not come again and submit representations on the issue. We will come only if the party invites us for taking a decision on formation of separate state," the MP from Nizamabad said.

Earlier, Chidambaram failed to give any assurance to the Telangana leaders, who were also unhappy over the hasty manner in which home minister left for another meeting.

The home minister told the delegation that the government can take a decision only after a decision by the party.

Telangana leaders demanded the government abide by its Dec 9, 2009 statement on the issue and table a bill in the ensuing parliament session to carve out a separate state.

The MPs had last week called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who assured to discuss the issue with the party leadership.

Jupalli Krishna Rao, a state minister, resigned earlier this month while some other ministers are planning to follow suit if the centre delays a decision on the issue.

Following a hunger strike by Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, the centre on Dec 9, 2009 had announced that the steps for formation of a separate Telangana state will be initiated.

As the statement sparked protests in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, the government went on the backfoot and decided to have wider consultations.

The government later constituted the Srikrishna committee which suggested six options, including formation of a separate Telangana state and maintaining status quo.




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