Meet to be held in New Delhi at 10 a.m.

In an attempt to pacify the belligerent Congress MPs from Telangana after they threatened to boycott the crucial voting on the FDI Bill in Parliament, the Centre on Wednesday, announced its decision to convene an all-party meeting on the statehood issue.

Madhu Yaskhi Goud and Ponnam Prabhakar, MPs, who met Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in the Parliament House in the morning, told reporters that the meeting on Telangana would be held in New Delhi at 10 a.m. on December 28.

In the absence of any official announcement by the Centre, crucial questions such as the number of representatives from each of the eight important parties and their status remained unanswered.

These answers are important since the previous two meetings on Telangana convened by the Centre in 2010 and 2011 flopped as representatives of key parties like the Congress and TDP took diametrically opposite stands. To avert such a situation, the TRS has demanded that only the president of each party should be invited.

The fresh initiative by the Centre to break the deadlock over Telangana came after Congress MPs abstained from a meeting convened by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Kamalnath and Mr. Shinde on Tuesday. The MPs softened their stand only after the Union Home Minister held discussions with Mr. Yaskhi and Mr. Prabhakar and once again appealed to them to attend the session.

The MPs refused to relent unless the Centre announced some forward movement on the Telangana issue. In the face of their belligerence on a day when voting on the FDI issue appeared inevitable, Mr. Shinde and AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad held consultations with party president Sonia Gandhi who gave them a free hand to tackle the situation.

Hailing the announcement as “historic”, Mr Yaskhi said, “We brought pressure on the Centre to take a decision.” While the TRS announced that its president K. Chandrasekhar Rao would attend the meeting, Telugu Desam described it as an attempt to corner it because the ruling Congress itself had failed to spell out its official stand.

Keywords: Telangana issue