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No consensus at meet on Telangana
Published on 6 Jan. 2010 1:05 AM IST
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Eight national and regional parties discussed the Telangana logjam with Home Minister P. Chidambaram here Tuesday for four hours, but there was no consensus on an issue that has violently split up Andhra Pradesh. The political parties, ranging from the ruling Congress to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), did issue a joint statement urging people to be calm, but the TRS insisted on breaking up of Andhra to form a state of Telangana. “It is our earnest appeal that peace, harmony and law and order should be maintained in the state,” the parties said in a brief statement. A chastened Chidambaram admitted that political opinion on Telangana remained divided and he pledged to talk to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior cabinet colleagues to evolve a mechanism to resolve the row. While the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Congress appeared ambivalent over the contentious issue, the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), which supports the Congress-led government, demanded President’s Rule in the state. MIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi suggested that a committee of political leaders, bureaucrats or a sitting judge of the Supreme Court must study the concerns of people from various regions. “Muslims are a party to the dispute. The state is heading towards financial emergency. The (central government) should impose President’s Rule,” Owaisi told reporters. TDP leader Y. Ramakrishnudu said the meeting was “not at all fruitful”. “The Congress government in the state or the centre could not spell out a single word to resolve the law and order problem and put a full stop to agitations (in favour of and against Telangana),” he said. TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, whose hunger strike in November-December forced New Delhi to announce that it was starting the process to set up Telangana, refused to compromise. Unlike other political leaders, the TRS leader did not talk to journalists after the meeting. Congress leader K.S. Rao said the meeting was held to lay down a roadmap for further consultations. “We have given our opinion to the home minister. Some parties supported the suggestion that all stakeholders should be consulted while others said there was no need for any consultation,” he said. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was very critical of the Congress and the central government. BJP veteran Bandaru Dattatreya said there was no need for further consultations and asked the government to bring a bill in the next session of parliament to create a separate state of Telangana. “There was no solution to the real problem. The Congress government is not clear about the issue,” he said, even as many parts of Andhra Pradesh remained paralysed on account of emotive protests by supporters as well as opponents of a Telangana state. Andhra Pradesh officials reported that scores of trains were halted all across the state as both sides of the Telangana divide wanted to prove their strength. Though Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) party chief Chiranjeevi said the meeting was “not fully satisfactory”, he favoured constituting a committee to talk to various sections of the people. “Unlike the Congress and TDP, our stand is very clear. We are for unified Andhra Pradesh,” the actor-turned-politician said. He added that the government should try to restore peace in the state. The MIM leader alleged that Chidambaram gave no clear answer when asked if the meeting had been called only for consultations or to carry out the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, one of India’s biggest states. The TDP warned that the agitations sweeping Andhra Pradesh were no more in the hands of political parties “but in the hands of the people”. The proposed Telangana will be made up of 10 districts that Telangana votaries say remains backward compared to the rest of Andhra Pradesh. While the Communist Party of India favours Telangana, the Communist Party of India-Marxist is opposed to it. The meeting was also attended by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah and Home Secretary G.K. Pillai.

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