New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday sought to put the issue of separate statehood for Telangana on the backburner, with Home Minister P Chidambaram saying there was no consensus on the issue.
Chidambaram said that the situation in Andhra Pradesh has "altered" since the government’s in-principle announcement on creation of a separate state.
Wide-ranging consultations would now be held with all political parties and groups in the state, the minister said in a statement, adding that the Centre will take "steps to involve all concerned in the process".
Recalling his December 9 statement in which he had announced that the process of forming Telangana would be initiated, he said that since then the situation in Andhra Pradesh has altered and that "a large number of political parties are divided on the issue".
Capping a fortnight of intense campaign by MPs of Telangana and non-Telangana regions, Chidambaram called a press conference at short notice and read out a four paragraph statement but took no questions.
He said the Centre made the statement on December 9 on receipt of minutes of a meeting of all political parties convened by Chief Minister K Rosaiah in which a "consensus" emerged on the formation of a separate state of Telangana.
Chidambaram said, meanwhile, it is necessary that peace and harmony are restored in Andhra Pradesh and the state government is allowed to focus on governance and development.
"The Central government appeals to the people of the different regions of Andhra Pradesh and to all political parties and students to withdraw their agitations and maintain peace, harmony and brotherhood," he said.
Reacting to Chidambaram’s statement, TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao said his party “will not relent, will not go back” on the issue.
The government should start the process for the formation of Telangana now, he added.
The indication of Chidambaram`s statement came after a
meeting of Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Chidambaram, A K
Antony, M Veerappa Moily and political secretary to Congress
president Ahmed Patel.
A statement was prepared and the draft was taken to
Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Later, Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh gave final touches and Chidambaram made it
The December 9 statement was made at the height of the
fast-unto-death protest launched by TRS chief KCR who withdrew the agitation on the 11th day.
Ever since, MPs and MLAs of Coastal Andhra and Rayalseema
region protested vehemently and carried out a campaign with
almost daily meetings with Central leaders and ministers
demanding a statement that the creation of Telangana would not
be initiated without a consensus.
Reflecting the regional divide in the state, MPs and MLAs
cutting across party lines in Telangana region also mounted a
counter-campaign urging the Centre not to backtrack and warned
of severe repercussions.
The period was also marked by violence in non-Telangana
regions against the bifurcation proposal.
The state Cabinet was divided on regional lines and over
135 MLAs belonging Congress, TDP and Praja Rajyam quit their
membership of the Assembly. Some MPs of Congress and TDP also
resigned. But none of these resignations have been accepted.
On Monday, a delgation of non-Telangana MPs met the Prime
Minister and said later that he had assured them that
government would come out with a statement to "make everything
in order" in the state.
(With PTI inputs)