UPA panel, CWC to likely take final call on Telangana statehood issue

The crucial meeting of the coordination committee of the Congress-led UPA coalition and the Congress Working Committee will be held on Tuesday evening when a finality is expected to be given to the issue of separate Telangana.

Amid indications that statehood for Telangana was now a foregone conclusion, the UPA coordination committee is seen as a formality to secure the stamp of approval from the Congress allies. It will meet at 4 p.m. and quickly followed by the CWC at 5.30 p.m. to adopt a resolution that would be forwarded to the Union Cabinet before the commencement of the monsoon session of Parliament. Going by the present composition, the coordination panel is unlikely to witness any major fireworks against the Telangana issue.

Potential allies that raised their objections against smaller States, including Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress and Karunanidhi’s DMK, are out of the UPA while another ally -- Sharad Pawar’s NCP -- is openly supporting the statehood issue. Ms. Mamata walked out of the coalition in September last year protesting against the Central government’s “reformatory’’ attitude in allowing FDI in retail.

The DMK walked out of the UPA in March this year ahead of the UN Human Rights Council’s vote against Sri Lanka as ``its staying in the government would do great harm to the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils.’’ The DMK’s decision came after senior leaders A.K. Antony and Ghulam Nabi Azad tried in vain to convince Mr. Karunanidhi.

Mr. Pawar and his party leaders have been frequently raising the Telangana issue claiming that any delay on Telangana would not be helpful. Another ally in the coalition -- Rashtriya Lok Dal of Union Minister Ajit Singh -- has been championing the cause of smaller States.

Over to Sonia

This leaves the National Conference, the IUML of Kerala, Sikkim Democratic Front and other smaller parties in the coalition. The UPA is supported from outside by Mayawati’s BSP and the Samajwadi Party with the two parties taking a clear position pro and against Telangana respectively.

The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen is strongly opposed to bifurcation of the State, but the party with a lone MP in Asaduddin Owaisi has already walked out of the UPA. The meeting of the Congress’ decision-making body CWC too appears to be a formality going by indications given by senior Congress leaders.

They feel that the CWC after considering the view of the UPA coordination committee was likely to adopt a single line resolution ‘authorising’ AICC president Sonia Gandhi to take a call on the issue.