AICC communiqué cites ‘pressing engagements’ as reason

Sonia Gandhi to attend other programmes in the State as scheduled

She will inaugurate the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad

HYDERABAD: The public meeting proposed to be addressed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi here on March 14 has been cancelled in view of some ‘pressing engagements’ in New Delhi that evening.

This development, which was communicated to Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy by the AICC on Monday, comes as a disappointment to the Congress leadership here and more particularly Dr. Reddy. At a recent meeting of APCC, Dr. Reddy announced his intention to use the meeting as a platform to send across the message of development by the AICC president to counter the demand for separate Telangana from within the party.

Telangana sentiment

In the face of Telangana Rashtra Samiti’s threat of intensifying the movement for separate State through resignations of its MPs and MLAs, the Congress leadership planned to mobilise crowds for the meeting to drive home its point that the Telangana sentiment was not as strong as the TRS and the Congress seniors were making it out to be.

The cancellation also comes as a dampener for the Congress seniors led by CWC member G. Venkataswamy who have upped the ante in the recent past. They had deferred their planned public meeting at Bhongir in anticipation that the party president would make a ‘clear statement’ on Telangana.

Ms. Gandhi would, however, attend other programmes in State as scheduled. She will land at Rajahmundry and proceed in a chopper to inaugurate the Pushkara lift irrigation. After addressing a public meeting at the project site, she will fly to Devadula project for a first-hand information on the progress of work. She will later inaugurate the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad near here before returning to New Delhi.