Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his senior ministerial colleagues on Tuesday counselled patience to lawmakers from non-Telangana regions in Andhra Pradesh on the contentious statehood demand and asked them to continue engaging with the party leadership on the issue.
The Ministers, MPs and MLAs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions met Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A. K. Antony, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, insisting that the Centre and Congress should not take any step that would hurt the unity of the state. Their meetings came as lawmakers from Telangana region accepted an invitation from to come to New Delhi for talks, a day after rejecting Azad’s offer in protest against his alleged ‘anti-Telangana’ remarks.
They will be in Delhi this week-end. However, Azad also ‘clarified’ that his remarks in Beijing on the Telangana demand was twisted by the media. The large delegation led by Higher Education Minister K. Sailajanath and senior MP K. S. Rao met Singh for over 30 minutes and apprised him of the situation in the state.
Briefing reporters about the meeting, Sailajanath said the Prime Minister gave a patient hearing to them on all the issues. “The Prime Minister asked us to be patient. As disciplined Congress workers, he said everyone should wait (for a decision to be taken). He told us that he will convey our sentiments to Azad,” Sailajanath said.
Singh’s colleagues also spoke to the lawmakers in a similar vein, asking them to be ‘patient’ and give their views to Azad, the party in-charge for Andhra Pradesh.
Azad also asked leaders from all three regions – Telangana, coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema – to be patient.
On his remarks in Beijing, Azad said: “I say one thing and you media people report another …What I meant was when states like UP, Bihar and MP were divided the respective state assemblies passed a resolution.”
“There was unanimity when these states were divided. It is not the case with Telangana and this is was I meant.”
He had last week told Indian journalists in Beijing that the Telangana issue cannot move an ‘inch’ forward unless the Andhra Pradesh Assembly passes a resolution in this regard. Azad also asked leaders from the three regions to come for talks and expressed satisfaction at Telangana lawmakers accepting his invitation.
The non-Telangana region’ lawmakers said they categorically told the Prime Minister and other ministers that Andhra Pradesh should be kept united and no move should be made to divide the state. The leaders said they ‘clearly explained’ their position to them.
The delegation, comprising more than 15 state ministers, also told them that Andhra Pradesh should be kept united keeping in mind the ‘larger interest of the state.’ Senior MP Rao said the Telangana demand is being raised by ‘disgruntled politicians’ and that they have clearly told the Central leaders about the designs of the leaders from that region.
The coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema leaders want the Centre to go by the sixth option recommended by the Justice B. N. Srikrishna Committee, which went into the statehood issue.
The sixth option states that Andhra Pradesh should be kept united with Constitutional/Statutory powers to Telangana and formation of a regional council to ensure development in that region too. Asian Age