Ahead of the Dec. 28 all-party meeting called by Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to discuss the Telangana issue, a move is on to bring the thorny issue to a denouement sooner than later.
According to sources, the thinking within the government and the Congress top brass is that all pending issues, including Telangana, should be resolved so that the party is better placed to plan for the 2014 election. As per the current script, the decks may be cleared for a January announcement.
With the government finally evolving a working relationship with the opposition, the all-party meeting will not be used as a mere assuaging ploy but as a sounding board for different options. Sources say that much would depend on the “atmospherics” of the Dec. 28 meeting. It seems Shinde has been asked to make an assessment, especially of the main players of Andhra Pradesh politics. As the new home minister, the meeting (though called under pressure from Telangana MPs) is expected to provide Shinde an opportunity to interact with the various stakeholders in a structured format.
Though Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Congress point man for AP, has already interacted with just about all parties to the dispute, sources pointed out that the meetings have happened at an informal level. What the government is now looking for is formal feedback on the contentious issues: the status of Hyderabad, water-sharing and the method/time-period of separation.
The Congress will then take up the issue for discussion at its Chintan Baithak slated to take place between Jan. 18 and 19 in Jaipur, followed by a party resolution. The anti-Telangana lobby, however, said they will continue to oppose the move.
The Congress, sources said, badly needs to fix the mess in Andhra Pradesh before the next polls, when the party will not only not have a bankable leader like Y S Rajashekhar Reddy, but will also be a divided house.