Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Bharatiya Janata Party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu has appealed to the protesting leaders and students to give up their hunger strike on the Telangana issue.

“You have brought it [the issue] to the notice of the Government of India and the people. Lives are important. All issues can be sorted out through political discussions,” he said on Tuesday.

Passions were running high and though the Congress party was in power at the Centre and in the State, it had done nothing so far to solve the issue. “Even Congressmen are on fast. Against whom are they fasting,” he asked. People of the country should not be pitted against one another. Andhra Pradesh would be the loser if the stalemate persisted.

When the BJP was in power at the Centre, it had divided bigger States such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. “At that time also there were protests. But we initiated dialogues with all the groups and found an amicable solution,” he said. In the case of Telangana, it was the hasty decision of the Centre that was to blame. No one was consulted; not even the Congress party in Andhra Pradesh. “The Chief Minister is on record saying that he was not consulted… The Central government has to find a way out,” he said.

Asked if the same dichotomy of views existed between the BJP in the State and at the Centre, he said the BJP was not a big political force in Andhra Pradesh.

On price rise, he accused the Central government of not doing anything and pointing “skywards” for all the problems. Everyone was aware that the price of petroleum products had a cascading effect on prices.