New Delhi: In a bid to find a way out over the contentious demand for carving a separate Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh, the Centre on Sunday stepped up the consultation process.
Grappling with the pro-Telangana agitation, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Reddy, along with his deputy Damodar Rajanarasimha rushed to the capital and held consultations with the senior Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, AK Antony, P Chidambaram and Ghulam Nabi Azad.
During the meeting, Reddy briefed the leaders about the situation in the state in the wake of the agitation and gave his opinion on the separate statehood demand.
"I have given my opinion. I said the aspirations of the people of Andhra Pradesh should be satisfied. Soon there would be an amicable solution that would be beneficial to the people of the state," Reddy told reporters after the meeting.
Earlier in the day, Governor E S L Narasimhan met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambaram separately. The Governor is understood to have briefed the Prime Minister and Home Minister about the situation in Telangana region.
After the meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, the Governor said "there is no no question of imposing President`s rule.
CM Kiran Reddy and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad also spoke in a similar vein.
"Why should President`s rule be imposed? When should President`s rule be imposed? What are the parameters?," asked Reddy responding to reporters’ questions.
As speculation mounted about a spell of central rule in the state, in the wake of the volatile situation, the Congress-led Centre clearly ruled out imposition of President`s rule in Andhra Pradesh.
"There is no question of President`s rule for the moment," Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is also in charge of the Congress affairs in Andhra Pradesh, told reporters after a high-level meeting attended by chief negotiator and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, other central ministers, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and state leaders.
Azad wondered why President`s rule has become a "fancy word". The Centre would take appropriate measures to resolve the crisis, he told reporters.
Senior Ministers, Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony, P Chidambaram and Ghulam Nabi Azad also held consultations by meeting five of their cabinet colleagues from the state separately to get their views on the Telangana issue, which has virtually divided the Congress on regional lines.
Also, Petroleum Minister S Jaipal Reddy, Tribal Affairs Minister Kishore Chandra Deo, Minister of State for Textiles Panabaka Lakshmi, Minister of State for HRD D Purandeswari and Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju met the ministers and gave their "frank" assessment of the situation.
After the meeting, Reddy told reporters that he has interacted with his colleagues and gave them his assessment of the situation in Andhra Pradesh.
"I gave a frank assessment. I can`t share the details with the media," he said.
Later in the evening, UPA troubleshooter Pranab Mukherjee said the consultation process within the Congress on the Telangana statehood issue would end on Monday, but refused to set any deadline for resolution of the matter.
Meanwhile, the opposition BJP said the govt is on backfoot over Telangana issue.
"The government of the day (Manmohan Singh`s government) is shying away after committing to give a Telangana state and is now on the backfoot over the issue," quipped BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
With Agency inputs