A day after the Congress core committee deliberated on separate Telangana at the Prime Minister’s residence, party general secretary and Andhra Pradesh in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad said in New Delhi on Sunday that a decision on the contentious Telangana statehood issue will be taken this month.
Azad’s statement comes in the backdrop of two Congress MPs quitting the party and joining Telangana Rashtra Samithi over complaints that the Centre was not serious about creating Telangana.
“Telangana is a priority before the Congress and it’s taking it seriously… deliberations are on with all stakeholders. Consensus is being built in all the three regions,” Azad said, adding, “In all probability, the Centre will take a decision within this month.”
Senior Congress leaders said the UPA coordination committee meeting on Monday assumes significance after Azad’s comments. Congress allies, including, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Rashtriya Lok Dal head Ajit Singh have supported separate Telangana, with Ajit Singh even launching his party’s Telangana unit.
Analysts said statehood to Telangana, to be carved out of AP’s 10 districts, was not an easy decision to take as Seemandhra Congress leaders have opposed such move tooth-and-nail. However, pro-Telangana leaders have always made their point clear: dilly-dallying on Telangana could impact negatively on the party’s fortunes in the general elections next year, in which Andhra has 42 Lok Sabha.
The defection of three party leaders, including two MPs, has worried state Congress leaders. Congress MPs Manda Jagannatham and G Vivek, along with senior leader K Keshava Rao, on Sunday formally joined the TRS, headed by K Chandrasekhar Rao.
Azad also said Telangana leaders must be patient and wait for the formal decision to be announced.
Enthused by Azad’s remark, Palavai Govardhan Reddy, a Rajya Sabha MP, went a step ahead and said the announcement of Telangana would come within 15 days.
“I have clear signals from the high command that a decision will be taken within 15 days. The national leaders told me that a bill on Telangana will be placed in Parliament on July 5,” Reddy told TOI.
PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana is leaving for Delhi on Monday, where he is expected to air his views on the mood in the Congress camp after the sacking of health minister DL Ravindra Reddy, who was critical of chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy. Party insiders said a few other leaders openly criticizing Kiran’s policies, too, could get the boot.