Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde made it clear Monday that the all-party meeting on Telangana would be held on Dec 28 as announced while Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy came under criticism from his own party leaders from Telangana for seeking its postponement.
Shinde told reporters in the national capital that the chief minister met him on Saturday and requested to postpone the meeting in view of the World Telugu Conference scheduled to be held in Tirupati Dec 27-29.
The home minister said if political parties make a request for a change in the all-party meeting date, he would consider it.
Shinde said he had not yet written to parties to invite them for the meet. To another query, he said the parties can send one or any number of representatives they desire to the meeting.
Congress MPs from Telangana and parties fighting for separate statehood to the region have been demanding that the central government invite only one representative from each party so that the parties can take a clear stand on the issue.
Shinde said 19 MPs met and requested him to convene an all-party meeting, which is part of the process of consultations to evolve a consensus over the issue.
Meanwhile, the chief minister drew flak both from leaders of his own Congress party from Telangana, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and other parties for suggesting that the all-party met be put off.
Congress MPs from Telangana called on Shinde in the national capital and demanded that the meeting be held as scheduled. The MPs and other leaders from the region alleged that by demanding postponement of the meet, the chief minister is trying to derail the process initiated by the central government.
In a related development, Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising groups fighting for Telangana state, set Dec 26 as the deadline for all political parties to make their stand clear on Telangana issue.
JAC chairman M. Kodandaram said an action plan of protest would be announced against parties which fail to take a clear stand.