CWC set to create history, announce Telangana statehood, despite strife

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 30 2013, 01:52am hrs
CWCUPA coordination committee is likely to meet on Telangana issue at 4 pm on Tuesday followed by the meeting of the CWC.
Taking a step forward, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) tomorrow may give a go-ahead to the creation of Telangana state, a decision that could trigger protests from within the party amidst reported threat of resignation by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy.

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The CWC, the highest policy-making body of the Congress, is scheduled to meet at 17:30. Just before that the party, which is said to have made up its mind on the division of Andhra Pradesh, will consult UPA allies on the ticklish issue.

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The high-level meetings are being called ahead of the Monsoon session of Parliament beginning August 5, when a bill relating to formation of Telangana is required to be passed if a decision is taken.

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AICC General Secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijaya Singh, who has been holding discussions with the state leaders, said a decision has to be taken in "national interest". He did not elaborate.

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The Congress leadership has been having discussions on the issue with the state leaders and at the central level and has given enough indications of going in favour of Telangana.

The issues that appear to be dogging them are whether Telangana should consist of just 10 districts of the region or should include a couple of districts from Rayalaseema. Also, the issue of Hyderabad - to be capital of Telangana or to be a joint capital - has to be resolved.

One more issue could be whether to make Hyderabad a Union Territory for some years to prevent immediate problems.

Amidst these moves, Andhra chief minister, who hails from Rayalaseema region, is said to be strongly opposed to the division of the state and has made it clear to the leadership that he would not be a party to such a move.

Congress leaders from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions today held closed-door meetings with N Kiran Kumar Reddy who is said to be toying with the idea of quitting the post if a decision is taken to split the state.

Just before the CWC meeting, Congress has called UPA meeting in an attempt to secure a stamp of approval of the constituents of the ruling alliance.

While NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has already made a strong pitch for the formation of separate Telangana, another ally RLD leader and Civil Aviation Minister is a votary of smaller states and has been advocating for long the creation of Harit Pradesh out of districts of Western Uttar Pradesh, his home turf.

In Hyderabad, sources close to the chief minister said that he may considering resigning if the proposal goes through.

"That's a certainty," a minister said after the chief minister's meeting with Ministers T G Venkatesh, Erasu Pratap Reddy, Dokka Manikya Varaprasad, Ganta Srinivasa Rao, MP Ananta Venkatarami Reddy and a few MLAs and MLCs.

"No decision has been taken yet (by the high command). We hope they will not take an overnight decision," Venkatesh told reporters after the meeting.

"If (TDP chief) Chandrababu Naidu and (YSRC honorary president) Vijayamma give a single line letter that they are for a unified state, we will see that nothing happens," he said.

He hastened to add that onus was more on Union Cabinet ministers and MPs from Andhra-Rayalaseema to prevent division of the state.

Venkatesh said all state ministers gave a letter to the high command stating they would not continue in their posts if a decision to divide the state was taken.

"Our resignation is not an issue but keeping Andhra Pradesh united is. If at all the state is divided it will create new problems and demands. Already, the demand for Gorkhaland has started," he pointed out, referring to the 72-hour bandh call given in the region.

"Similar demands will come up in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Kashmir," he added.

MLA Veera Siva Reddy and MLC Rudraraju Padma Raju wanted the Union ministers and MPs from Seemandhra region to resign forthwith to prevent bifurcation of AP.