The Centre today appeared to be moving towards finalising its stand on the Telangana statehood demand with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde saying that a decision will be announced within a month as political parties from Andhra Pradesh put the onus on the UPA Government.
However, Mr. Shinde’s announcement did not cut much ice with TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao, the political face of the movement, who called the meeting a “futile exercise” and announced a day-long bandh in Telangana region on Saturday.
Addressing a press conference after presiding over a meeting of political parties from the state, Shinde said he has heard “carefully” the opinions of all parties whose representatives wanted an early decision on the issue.
“I have heard carefully from all the parties. I will brief the government on the outcome of the meeting and within one month we will come out with a result. Within one month, there will be a decision,” he said.
“I appeal to the youth to remain peaceful. There will be a result. The government will take a decision. It is taking decision and it will be a good decision,” Mr. Shinde said.
At the meeting, majority of political parties asked the Congress and UPA Government to put an end to the “uncertainty” in Andhra Pradesh by coming out with an immediate decision on the issue.
YSR Congress Party headed by Congress rebel Y S Jaganmohan Reddy remained ambivalent and put the onus on the Centre to take a call on the statehood demand while accusing it of having taken “imprudent actions“.
At the meeting, the TDP produced a letter from party chief N Chandrababu Naidu to Shinde which said his party has not withdrawn a communication sent to the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in 2008 on its stand supporting creation of Telangana.
Sources said two representatives of Congress gave conflicting opinions -- one in favour of Telangana and the other opposing the creation of a separate state, while CPI, TRS and BJP gave their green signal for bifurcating Andhra Pradesh. CPI(M) is opposed to creation of Telangana.
In another indication that the decision would be out soon, Shinde said this was the last all-party meeting on the Telangana issue and that he was fully satisfied with its outcome.
CPI, TRS and BJP also prodded the Centre to come out with an announcement on bifurcation of the state soon.
Rao said he was just “not satisfied” with the Centre’s announcement that a decision will be taken in a month’s time.
“They have said this over a hundred times. They have not fulfilled their promises. They have cheated the people of Telangana again,” he told reporters after coming out of the meeting chaired by Mr. Shinde.
The Telangana bandh would have the support of Telangana Joint Action Committees and BJP, Rao said and added that the future course of action would be decided soon.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) opposed division of Andhra Pradesh, but said if the Centre decides to create Telangana, then Hyderabad should be part of the new state along with Rayalaseema. Hyderabad should not be made a Union Territory, the party said.
There was no clarity on the stand expressed by Congress with one of its representatives K R Suresh Reddy saying that the Congress stood for two states.
“I told the meeting that the Congress stood for two states. When other political parties insisted what is the stand of the Congress, the Home Minister interjected to say that the Congress representative has said that the party stood for two states,” he claimed.
Mr. Reddy claimed that whatever he told the meeting was the stand of the Congress. However, his colleagues from non-Telangana regions differed from him.
The Home Minister said he understood that people of Andhra Pradesh have been facing problem for past several years due to the ongoing agitation demanding a separate Telangana and appealed to the youth of the state to remain peaceful.
“I appeal to the youth to remain peaceful. There will be a result. The government will take a decision. It is taking decision and it will be a good decision,” he said.
Refusing to disclose details of what transpired in the meeting, Mr. Shinde said it was an “in-camera hearing” and the final decision will be taken on the basis of the opinions expressed in the meeting.
Asked how many people would be satisfied with the Centre’s decision on Telangana, the Home Minister said, “When a decision is taken, some people become satisfied, some people are not“.
Mr. Shinde said he had heard the opinion of every political party and he has taken note of that. “Everything will be considered when a decision is taken,” he said.
YSR Congress Party said unless the Central Government makes its stand clear about this issue there is no way this can be resolved even if all parties come up with their stand.
Its representative M V Mysura Reddy alleged that state has been turned into a “battle ground” with development taking the back stage due to “imprudent actions of the Centre.”
“The Centre should come out with a solution acceptable to all without injustice to anyone taking into consideration all aspects and problems at the earliest,” he said.
The TDP also requested the “Government of India to take a decision on the issue to put an end to this uncertainty.”
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said his party is for the continuance of Andhra Pradesh with statutory safeguards for Telangana region.
“But if the Union government sought to bifurcate the state on the criteria of backwardness and neglect, we suggest that a Rayala-Telangana state should be formed by bringing together Rayalaseema and Telangana regions with Hyderabad as the capital,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congress MPs from Telangana region welcomed the Centre’s announcement, claiming that this shows a separate state would become a reality soon.