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Govt buys some more time on Telangana

UPA said it was aware of the "gravity" of the ongoing agitation for a separate state in Telangana but needs "some more time" to find a solution.



New Delhi/Hyderabad: The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government Saturday said it was aware of the "gravity" of the ongoing agitation for a separate state in Telangana but needs "some more time" to find a solution to the vexed issue.

"We are aware of the gravity of the situation. We are in the process of consultations. We need some more time and further consultations," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here, a day after Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is also the party in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, submitted a report on the issue to party chief Sonia Gandhi.

Mukherjee said the Congress core committee, headed by Gandhi, had deliberated on the issue Friday. The consultations on Telanagana will continue, he added.

As top-level consultations on Telangana continued in Delhi Saturday too, Andhra Pradesh`s Infrastructure Minister Komatireddy Venkata Reddy resigned in Hyderabad to protest the delay of the Congress leadership in taking a clear decision on the issue.

Venkata Reddy, who hails from Nalgonda district of Telangana region, met Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan at Raj Bhavan and submitted his resignation as minister.
Venkata Reddy also submitted his resignation as member of the state assembly. Another Congress legislator, C. Lingaiah, also resigned.

Venkata Reddy had set Sep 30 as the deadline for the Congress` central leadership to make a clear-cut announcement on the Telangana issue.

He said he will hold a day-long fast at Nalgonda Oct 2 and later participate in the movement for a separate state.

Venkata Reddy is the second minister from Telangana to resign over the separate statehood issue. J. Krishna Rao had resigned as the minister on May 31.

Meanwhile, in a follow-up to the ongoing consultations in Delhi, Azad is likely to visit Hyderabad Sunday, sources said.

Azad is likely to hold discussions with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, and other leaders from Telangana and Rayalaseema.

In New Delhi, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat Saturday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take a decision on the Telanagana issue immediately.
"Procrastination will only worsen the situation. I would urge you to see that a decision is taken on the matter without any further delay," said Karat said in a letter, which was released to the media.

The CPI-M leader noted that for the past three weeks, the Telengana region has been paralysed by the agitation of the people demanding a separate state.

"It is now nine months since the Srikrishna Committee (which went into the demand for a separate state for Telegana) submitted its report on Telengana and Andhra Pradesh. We had expected that the government of India would take a decision on the matter after considering the report," he said.

"All political parties and various sections of society in Andhra Pradesh had submitted their views to the Srikrishna Committee. Hence, there is no need for further consultations with political parties," Karat said in his letter.

Meanwhile, there was speculations in the Congress that the party is reviewing its adamant policy on Telangana and was looking for a formula to give statehood to Telangana without losing its support base in Andhra and Rayalaseema - the other regions of Andhra Pradesh.

"Four political parties of Andhra Pradesh have not made up their mind and top of the list is the Congress. TDP (Telugu Desam Party) and MIM (Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) are waiting to see what the Congress decision will be. The other party, the YSR Congress, has not indicated its mind either," Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said in New Delhi Friday.

Chidambaram said the government hoped to call an all-party meeting when all the parties would make up their mind on the issue.

IANS

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