The Congress seems to be veering towards a decision for creation of a separate Telangana State, bifurcating the existing Andhra Pradesh. However, the final call may take a little more time. According to top-level sources, the State team led by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has been asked by the Congress Core Committee to come back with “more details on the political fallout” of such a decision and its implications on the administration set-up, boundary and water and irrigation issues which need to be sorted out.
After the meeting, new All India Congress Committee incharge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijaya Singh said: “The matter has been referred to the Congress Working Committee,” the highest decision-making body of the party. Indications from Digvijaya are that the CWC may meet in a fortnight, to decide on it. No one else confirmed this. In fact, another top-level source said, “no date has been fixed” for the CWC meeting, which could very well be a time-buying tactic.
But going by the top Congress leader, it seems, “for the first time there’s a move towards creation of a state”.
On being asked whether there was an end-of-the-month timeline that was being followed by the Congress, he said “the picture would be clear by next week”.
Barring Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who is in the US, just about everybody who matters in the Congress — its president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Defence Minister A K Antony, Political Secretary Ahmed Patel and the present and former AICC State incharge Digvijaya Singh and Ghulam Nabi Azad — were present at the meeting on Friday, which began at 4 pm.
For the next two hours, the Congress top brass heard presentations from three leaders of Andhra Pradesh on the pros and cons — the political and financial implications — of carving a Telangana State out of Andhra Pradesh.
While Kiran Kumar Reddy, in his one-hour long diatribe, mostly spoke against bifurcation of the State, deputy CM Damodar Narasimha Raja in his 20-minute presentation gave a favourable view on Telangana.
Maintaining equidistance from both, AP PCC Chief Botcha Satyanarayan remained neutral. His was a 15-minute intervention. All of them gave their presentations separately and not in each other’s presence.
Earlier in the day, the CM had a one-to-one meeting with the Congress chief.
The three are expected to meet Sonia Gandhi and Digvijaya Singh yet again on Saturday morning, it was decided at the core committee meeting.