As the “confused” UPA-II regime and the Congress high command are keeping their fingers crossed on the contentious Telangana issue, plans are being worked out at both the government/party level to avoid disastrous poll results for the Congress in Andhra Pradesh, which sends 42 Lok Sabha members to Parliament.
Sources claimed that without giving a firm assurance on Telangana, the party is looking at announcing a special financial package and development schemes for the region or a special regional development council with its chief enjoying a Cabinet Minister rank or equivalent to Chief Minister in protocol.
Also, in another gambit, to prevent exodus from the Congress of its leaders in the Telangana region, and to keep the cadres in high morale, the Pradesh Congress Committee president post, which is presently held by Botcha Satyanarayana of north coastal Andhra region (Vizianagaram district), could be given to a leader from Telanagana region, sources claimed. The Centre is already in a Catch-22 situation as conceding to Telangana demand would only help the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), BJP and the CPI to take credit for achieving the separate State. Considering various options, the Centre/Congress could give interim relief to the Telangana people and continue to drag the separate demand issue for as much time as possible on the pretext of getting “consensus”, sources said.
Meanwhile, briefing journalists, Congress spokesman P.C. Chacko said talks were on the separate State demand at the highest level and no decision had been taken. State Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, who met various ministers on the Telangana issue on Tuesday, continued to camp in Delhi.