Have patience on Telangana: PM to Andhra MPs

Stepping up pressure on the Centre, Congress lawmakers from non-Telangana regions on Tuesday met PM Manmohan Singh demanding that the Government should not bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, but were counselled patience by him.

New Delhi: 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

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

"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 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

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.


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