Congress will first take a call on the issue, says Chief Minister

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has said that the Congress party would first take a stand on the Telangana statehood issue and only then the Centre would announce its decision.

Indicating that the party would indeed have to first take the call and that it had begun focussing its attention on the issue, he said: “Centre is already talking to different groups. It is a continuous process. Why else do you think TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao is in New Delhi?” he observed at a press conference here on Saturday after the Assembly was adjourned sine die.

Stating that there was no fixed timeframe on announcing a decision on the contentious issue, he said the high command was trying to elicit the views of leaders and people from all regions. “The demand for separate Telangana state has been there since 1956. The agitation during 1969 was much more serious than the present one. Do you know how many people died in police firing during the 1969 agitation? After that the ‘Jai Andhra’ movement was also there.”

Asked if he had been summoned to New Delhi to discuss the issue, Mr. Reddy shot back: “To the best of my knowledge, I am not going to Delhi on Sunday, as speculated by the media.”

When the Centre plans to take a final decision on the statehood issue, they would certainly call the Chief Minister, he said. “If the central leadership asks me about the Telangana issue, I will tell them the facts. I will not disclose to you what I feel about the bifurcation issue,” he added.

Appeal to T-JAC

To a query on the Telangana March on September 30, he renewed the government’s appeal to the T-JAC to call off the event in view of the Vinayaka Nimmajanam on September 29 and 30 and the Conference of Parties (COP-11) beginning October 1.

“It is a prestigious conference and we appeal to the T-JAC to reconsider its decision. The Home Minister is already holding talks with the organisers to convince them to put off the march. We are hopeful that the organisers would pay heed to our plea,” he said. He made a similar appeal in the Legislative Council earlier in the day.