The much-awaited Union Ministry of Home Affairs letter calling for an all-party meeting on December 28 finally reached nine political parties here on Wednesday plunging at least three of them into a dilemma as it has again invited not one but two representatives from each of them.

Without taking the issue upon itself, the Ministry made it clear that the meeting is being convened as a number of representations were made by MPs to restart the dialogue on the Telangana issue. The meeting, third in the series, will be held at 10 a.m. on December 28 in the North Block, New Delhi, according to letters sent to the presidents of various parties.

Triggers speculation

The letter inviting two representatives triggered speculation over the Centre’s intentions with TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao dubbing it a “cheap drama” prompting two voices from the same political party as was done earlier. “They will allow both voices to prevail and then claim that there is no consensus.” Telugu Desam leader Kadiam Srihari too said that the move smacked of the Centre’s insincerity in finding a solution to the problem. The nine parties that received the invitation were Congress, TDP, TRS, BJP, CPI, CPI (M), YSR Congress, MIM and Lok Satta. Among the major parties, the TRS, BJP and CPI have taken a clear stand favouring Telangana, while the Congress, TDP, YSRC and MIM remain undecided. The CPI (M) had stoutly opposed Telangana.

The Congress and Telugu Desam managed to dodge the issue spelling out a clear stand so far as in the previous two meetings too two delegates from each of them were called.

Consensus elusive

The two parties nominated one representative each from Telangana and Andhra/Rayalaseema, respectively. Each of them highlighted the dominating sentiment in their respective regions eluding a consensus.

Pro-Telangana parties like the TRS, BJP and CPI fear that the outcome of the forthcoming all-party meeting would be on similar lines unless each political party takes a single stand irrespective of the number of representatives sent to the meeting.

In finalising December 28 as the date for the meeting, the Centre has ignored Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s plea for its postponement citing the World Telugu Conference beginning on December 27 at Tirupati.

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde clarified that there was no change and meeting would be held as scheduled on December 28.

It would be yet another milestone in the long tortuous negotiating path in the recent past that began with former Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram announcing that the process of formation of Telangana has begun on December 9, 2009.