It will work to remove the imbalances before initiating statutory measures

Seventy two hours after the Congress Working Committee’s dramatic announcement on Telangana, it decided late on Friday evening to constitute a high-level party committee to interact with aggrieved leaders from the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh to address their concerns before initiating the statutory measures needed for the creation of the new State.

Faced with protests and threat of resignations from Central Ministers, MPs and MLAs from the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, the Congress — in what appeared to be a face saver — finally decided to give them a hearing, and further reassurance that the sharing of assets between the proposed State of Telangana and the left over region will be equitable.

The decision to set up a high-level committee came after Congress general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh consulted Congress president Sonia Gandhi — and met vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday.

In a statement, Mr. Singh said a high-level party committee would be constituted “to regularly interact in a structured manner with leaders from the Seemandhra region to remove the imbalances, before initiating the statutory measures pursuant to the decision.”

Earlier in the day, Union Ministers Pallam Raju, D. Purandeshwari, J. Surya Prakash Reddy, K. Kriparani, J.D. Seelam and others called on Mr. Singh and offered to resign “in view of the aggrieved sentiments and public anger from the Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions.” They told him, the statement says, that the decision to divide the State was “taken without discussing and reflecting the concerns of the people and leaders of the two regions.”

Issues that came up for discussion pertained to Hyderabad, the proposed new capital, concerns of farmers, students , employees, sharing of water and power — with the last two named figuring highest in the list.

Mr. Singh, urged the MPs, MLAs, MLCs and other party leaders not to resign but “to raise the issues concerning the Seemandhra region more effectively in the Assembly and Parliament” so that the concerns of the people are “addressed in the right perspective.” He also told them that at this “crucial juncture,” the Ministers should play a “proactive and progressive role in reflecting the concerns and aspirations of the people of the two regions.”