The opinion on the terms of reference of the Group of Ministers on Telangana is fractured among the major political parties.
The divide is so deep in the Congress that it is forced to hold two separate meetings with the leaders of Telangana and Seemandhra on Monday to discuss the issues that could be made part of the report to the GoM. The Centre has set November 5 deadline for the eight political parties to which letters have been sent inviting their suggestions on the GoM’s terms of reference.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy is likely to the skip the meeting with Telangana Congress leaders convened at the residence of APCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana on Monday. Instead, he would be attending the meeting of Seemandhra leaders in the evening at his camp office where the PCC president would be present.
Top sources told The Hindu that there is perceptible change in the TDP’s stand on the statehood issue ever since the letter it gave at the all-party meeting last year. The TDP, which gave in writing that it was not against creation of Telangana State, reportedly feels that the State could not be divided without consulting stakeholders from the three regions. The TDP is arguing that the ruling Congress took a unilateral decision to divide the State and that the Centre should do equitable justice to all regions while going ahead with bifurcation.
Congress leaders said that Mr. Kiran Reddy might have decided against meeting the party’s Telangana leaders owing to his strident stand in support of united AP. The Telangana Congress leaders were highly critical of Mr. Reddy for behaving more as a Chief Minister of Seemandhra region and claim that his attempt to defy the high command was aimed at enhancing his image in Seemandhra.
Sources in the Chief Minister’s camp point out that Mr. Reddy on his return from Bangalore would proceed to Ibrahimpatnam mandal in Ranga Reddy district to attend the foundation-laying function of Aerospace Park there and stay on till afternoon. The PCC chief told The Hindu that the outcome of the meetings on Monday would form the basis for the report that would be submitted to the Home Ministry.
The Telangana Congress leaders’ are sticking to their argument that a single report supporting the CWC decision should be submitted to the GoM. On the other hand, Seemandhra Congress leaders are in two minds. One section is of the view that giving a report to the GoM about the needs of Seemandhra was as good as accepting bifurcation while another section wants the party rank and file to utilise the opportunity.
The YSR Congress and the CPI (M) have decided not to respond to the Centre’s letter inviting suggestions as the GoM was essentially meant for bifurcation of the State. The BJP, while reiterating support for division, wanted a package for all the backward regions.
The CPI recently submitted a memorandum to Union Home Minister S. K. Shinde seeking an effective package for Seemandhra region. In contrast, the TRS has sent its response outlining suggestions for each and every point of the terms of reference.