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There was a sense of outrage among the Telangana Congress leaders in the wake of the statement made by AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad that a decision on the statehood issue could be delayed.

Minutes after Mr. Azad made the announcement that the one month deadline set by Union Home Minister S. K. Shinde for January 28, could not be kept due to various reasons, a delegation of Telangana Ministers, MPs and legislators met him at his residence on Wednesday night.

Ministers -- K. Jana Reddy, J. Geetha Reddy, N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, D. Sridhar Babu and Basavaraj Saraiah and MPs Madhu Yaskhi and S.Rajaiah besides Government Chief Whip Gandra Venkataramana Reddy met Mr. Azad minutes after he made the announcement.

Sources said during the brief interaction, Mr. Azad reiterated what he has told reporters earlier and sought to know from the Ministers and others what they would do if there was a burning issue confronting them in their respective constituencies.

His remarks did not go down well with the Telangana leaders. Karimnagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar told The Hindu from New Delhi that it was proved once again that the Seemandhra leaders continued to hold sway over the Central leadership. “If the Centre wanted to delay a decision, it should have made a statement earlier. What is the use of trying to find excuses when everybody was hopeful of a positive decision,” he remarked.

Mr. Prabhakar went on to add that Mr. Azad’s statement came hours before Seemandhra Minister T.G.Venkatesh claimed in Hyderabad that the decision on Telangana has been postponed. Peddapalli MP G. Vivekanand alleged that Chief Minister N.Kiran Kumar Reddy’s game plan had succeeded in scuttling announcement on Telangana. “We demand that the Chief Minister resign for his outright support to the Seemandhra leaders,” he said.

Nizamabad MP Madhu Yaskhi claimed a decision has only been postponed. “The Seemandhra leaders through conspiracy have ensured that the announcement has been postponed,” he pointed out.

The Seemandhra leaders were visibly elated at the developments that their lobbying had succeeded.

But, none of them were willing to go on record claiming that their statements would only provoke the Telangana leaders.

Mr. Venkatesh, earlier, in the day had said that the Seemandhra delegation had urged the Centre to take some more time before announcing a decision on bifurcation.