After months of dithering, the government finally has decided to convene a meeting of all major political parties on December 28 to seek their views on the demand to carve out a separate state of Telangana. The move was disclosed by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Wednesday.
The decision comes after two days of consultations that the government had with Congress MPs from Telangana. These MPs were threatening to abstain from the vote on FDI in multi-brand retail in Parliament.
On Tuesday, Shinde along with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had called the MPs for a meeting in a bid to convince them to participate in the vote. The MPs did not turn up but one of them, Ponnam Prabhakarl, had a separate discussion with Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh.
On Wednesday morning, the MPs met Shinde and Kamal Nath where they were informed of the government decision to call a meeting. In return, the MPs agreed to vote for the government in the House. It is not yet clear whether the YSR Congress Party would be invited for the meeting.
The Justice Srikrishna Committee, which was formed to suggest ways to create a separate Telangana state, had, in its 2010 report, suggested six ways to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh into two states.
While some parties clearly support the creation of Telangana, including the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti headed by K Chandrashekhar Rao, and the BJP, many, including the Congress, have so far remained ambivalent. A few of them are in favour of a united Andhra Pradesh.
The last such all-party meeting was held in January 2011, a week after the Srikrishna Committee submitted its report. Then the Centre had told all the parties to firm up their positions on the issue before the next meeting could be called.