Congress is treading a cautious path on the sensitive issue of Telangana with the Centre’s decision to carve out a separate state from Andhra Pradesh provoking a political backlash there.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday assured agitated party MPs from non-Telangana regions, who had come to meet her that any final decision on Telangana would be taken only after consensus.

A total of 18 MPs from the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of the state including late Chief Minister Y S R Reddy’s son Jagan Mohan Reddy and three Union Ministers Panabaka Luxmi, D Purnadeswari and A Sai Prathap met Gandhi to express their opposition to the bifurcation of the state.

The lone MP from Telangana region to attend the meeting was Hyderabad MP Asaddudin Owaisi of the MIM, which is an ally of Congress.

Congress MP from Vijayawada, Lagadapati Rajagopal, who has resigned in protest against the Centre’s decision to form Telengana, did not turn up for the meeting.

Senior Congress leaders A K Antony, AICC in-charge for Andhra Pradesh M Veerappa Moily and Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel attended the meeting. Later, Gandhi held another meeting with the same leaders including Pranab Mukherjee.

Meanwhile, a senior party leader on the condition of anonymity said, “We have to handle the issue carefully. It is a sensitive matter.”

The Congress leader on the condition of anonymity also said that no time-frame has been decided for the resolution for Telangana to be passed by the state. He said the MPs from the non-Telangana region wanted a united Andhra Pradesh.

The leader also said the opposition to Telangana is also there in other parties, including TDP.

Earlier, Congress MPs from Telangana also met Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to thank them for the Centre’s decision on a separate state.

93 MLAs have quit the Assembly in Andhra Pradesh. One Congress MP has already resigned from Parliament protesting against the decision to confer statehood on Telangana region.

Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, meanwhile refused to go into the nitty gritty of the issue unless the resolution comes through.

“We know how to deal with problem....these things do not happen instantly...,” he said when asked about the protest to the demand for Telangana in Congress as well as in other parties.

He said, “At the party level we have been told about the consensus...” but evaded a direct reply on whether Congress will withdraw its decision on Telangana if consensus eludes the issue.

Singhvi said the party welcomes the initiation of the process in respect of Telangana and added that Congress’ stand over the issue has been most consistent while other parties engaged in “flip-flop”.

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