Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday stressed that the Centre's consultation process with Andhra Pradesh's political parties on the “complicated” Telangana issue “must be allowed to be pursued to its logical conclusion.”

Interacting with the electronic media here, Dr. Singh said the Centre was trying to evolve a consensus (on the recommendations of the Justice Sri Krishna Committee report). Home Minister P. Chidambaram had one round of meeting with the political parties and he would call those parties again because the first round was just handing over them the Committee's report. Now the parties were studying it.

“..after that will come the phase of consultation with all political parties who are active in Andhra Pradesh, that process must be allowed to be pursued to its logical conclusion.”

Asked what the government's stand would be if no consensus was arrived at the meeting, he said: “I cannot answer the hypothetical question, we will cross the bridge when we come to it.”

Mr. Chidambaram had the first meeting on January 6 this year in Delhi with representatives of recognised parties in the State. While the Congress, the Praja Rajyam Party, the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) participated, the Telugu Desam Party, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti and the Bharatiya Janata Party boycotted the meeting.

The Justice Srikrishna Committee, which went into the demands for a “separate Telangana” and “united Andhra Pradesh,” presented its report on December 30, 2010, to the Centre and suggested six options, including creation of Telangana with Hyderabad as the capital and continuation of status quo with more economical/political powers to the Telangana region.

On the Congress' prospects in the Kerala Assembly elections, Dr. Singh said: “…I do believe that the Congress party has a very good chance to return to power. Winds of change are blowing that way and I hope this change will materialise.”

Tamil Nadu poll

Asked about his assessment on the coming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Dr. Singh said: “I am not an astrologer but I do hope that the ruling coalition will win.”

In Tamil Nadu, the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is supported by the Congress from outside.