The ongoing Telangana controversy appears to have taken its toll, with the Congress core committee which met here Wednesday evening deciding to put on hold the much-anticipated reshuffle of the Manmohan Singh government.
Sources said that the core committee — comprising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, senior ministers Pranab Mukherjee, P. Chidambaram and A.K. Antony, as well as Mrs Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel — resolved to delay the much-awaited Cabinet reshuffle owing to the unrest over the demand for a separate state.
The sources added that the core committee also decided to continue the process of consultation over Telangana with all stakeholders till Parliament meets for its Monsoon Session on August 1. AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is in charge of Andhra affairs, was a special invitee at the core committee meeting, and he briefed it on the situation in the state. He has been negotiating with Congress legislators in Andhra ever since the crisis flared up again.
Congress MPs and MLAs from the Telangana region who had submitted their resignations this week on Wednesday demanded a definite “timeframe” for the creation of a new state, and insisted they had not been under any pressure to quit. The Centre has ruled out the possibility of imposing President’s Rule in Andhra Pradesh to tide over the crisis.
Andhra legislators who had called on Mr Mukherjee Tuesday night had prevailed upon him to define a timeframe for a conclusion on the controversial issue. Rajya Sabha MP K. Keshav Rao told reporters: “Give us a timeframe. Be it six months, three months or two months.”
Mr Rao also emphasised that the legislators were not under pressure from any quarter to resign, and they had done it on their own. He said: “No one pressured us. And also it is not a tool to armtwist anyone but an urge to get a separate state.” This followed reports that the presiding officers of legislatures are not bound to accept mass resignations of legislators if they felt these resignations were the result of pressure from outside.
Union home minister P. Chidambaram conceded that the Centre was not happy about the resignations by MPs and MLAs from the state, but ruled out imposing President’s Rule in Andhra Pradesh. “We are not thinking of President’s Rule. (But) we are unhappy that so many MLAs and MPs have tendered their resignations.”
Pointing out that discussions were on, he said: “We hope the process of consultations will show us the path to reach a conclusion. As of today, the consultation process is continuing. No decision has been taken yet.”
On law and order in the state, the home minister said adequate forces had been placed at the state government’s disposal, and said he was confident that nothing untoward would happen. He said: “I sincerely hope and appeal to everyone, while we understand the provocation for an agitation, we sincerely hope that even those who agitate will not lead to a breakdown of law and order.” Asian Age