But Congress brass will wait and watch

The Congress leadership has decided to create a separate State of Telangana, but it will call a CWC meeting only after it has made a full assessment of how to minimise the political fallout of the move in Andhra Pradesh.

The Core Group that met here on Friday evening has, therefore, decided to watch the situation in the southern State a bit longer before setting a date for the Congress Working Group to endorse their decision.

This came after the Core Group members were briefed by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh on their consultations with senior State leaders, including Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Resignations feared

The Core Group is concerned now that an announcement about the creation of Telangana could trigger resignations by aggrieved party MPs, jeopardising the fate of the Food Security Bill the UPA government wants to pass — as a priority — in the monsoon session of Parliament that starts on August 5.

With an uncooperative opposition, the Congress needs all its MPs on board for the bill to get through.

Publicly, the Congress was circumspect. “The consultation process is over. Now, await the decision of the party as well as UPA government,” Mr. Singh told journalists after the Core Group meeting at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s residence.

It was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel, Union Ministers A.K. Antony, P. Chidambaram, Sushilkumar Shinde and Ghulam Nabi Azad, besides Mr. Singh.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Azad and Mr. Singh met the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha and Pradesh Congress Committee chief Botcha Satyanarayana separately at the party’s War Room on Gurdwara Rakabganj Road here.

The three men were told that Ms. Gandhi had made up her mind to create Telangana, and this decision would have to be accepted, and they would all have to work in the best interests of the party to lessen the impact of any adverse fallout.

The longest discussion, party sources said, was with Mr. Rajanarasimha, a Telangana proponent.

Mr. Reddy requested that the CWC not meet till July 31, the day the ongoing panchayat elections end, when the forces deployed for the poll would be free to cope with the fallout of any announcement.