“No unanimity, no consensus” among Congress leaders in Telangana and Seemandhra: Azad

Even as Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad conveyed to the Congress leadership that there was “no unanimity, no consensus” in the consultation process he had with the party leaders of the Telangana and Seemandhra regions on the demand for a separate State, Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday said he was trying his best to speed up the process at the government level.

“I am trying to hasten the process [of consultation] as much as I can, but, as you know, these are matters concerning political parties [they have to fashion their views on the demand for a Telangana State], and only so much one can do from the government,” Mr. Chidambaram told journalists at a monthly press briefing of his Ministry here.

He said four parties, including the Congress, were yet to give their views on the report of the Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee, which went into the demands for a separate Telangana and a united Andhra Pradesh. The others that were yet to give their opinion are the Telugu Desam Party, the All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and the YSR Congress.

Answering a question on the ongoing agitation, Mr. Chidambaram said: “No government will actually support a general strike. No government will actively support a bandh, a blockade or a rail roko. My appeal is that while the protesters certainly made their point, continuation of any strike or rail roko or rasta roko cripples the economic activity and enormously inconveniences the people.”

‘Rein in agitators'

Meanwhile, informed sources said, the leaders of the Seemandhra region urged the Congress high command and the government to rein in the pro-Telangana agitators and ask them to stop the agitation, as it had been causing enormous loss to the State's economy, besides affecting life in the Telangana region. Mr. Azad, who had given his report on the views of the leaders from the two regions to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, also gave a copy to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the sources said.

In the opposition camp, BJP president Nitin Gadkari said Telangana could be created without doing any injustice to the other parts of Andhra Pradesh and accused the UPA government of indulging in a “dangerous game of delay and deceit.”

At the party's national executive committee meeting here, Mr. Gadkari said: “We strongly demand that the government place the Telangana Bill in Parliament forthwith. The BJP reiterates its support to the same. An early creation of Telangana remains the only way out of the situation.”

After making an announcement in December 2009 on the creation of a Telangana State, the UPA government demonstrated its incapacity or unwillingness to follow it through, Mr. Gadkari charged. “Fed up with this delay, the Telangana people are on a complete strike. Over the past 18 days or so, no bus, no train, no autorickshaw has been plying in the region. All coalminers are on strike, and the power stations are closing down for lack of coal. Severe power cuts are imposed. All nine lakh government employees, teachers, students and even temple priests are on strike,” he said.