PCC chief favours smaller States

HYDERABAD, MAY 20. The Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president, Mr. M. Satyanarayana Rao, has favoured creation of smaller States ``in deference to the wishes of people of backward regions in various States.''

Mr. Rao has conveyed this view to the five-member sub- committee of the party headed by Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, with a request that the issue be pursued with the Government of India. He also shared this view during his interaction with the Congress president, Ms. Sonia Gandhi, and other Central leaders during his visit to Delhi in connection with the constitution of the PCC executive.

``But I have not specifically referred to Telangana in this context,'' he told this correspondent. He explained that, as PCC president, he could not plead the case of Telangana or Rayalaseema. But he had conveyed his `strong feelings' to the Central leadership that the bigger States had become unwieldy and were unable to attend to the needs of the backward and neglected regions.

He suggested that the Centre set up a commission to examine the demands from different regions for carving out smaller States not only for administrative convenience but for more focussed attention on developmental activities. The commission could process the representations from different regions in a given time-frame of three or four months, he said.

Though Mr. Rao argued that he had not specifically pleaded the cause of Telangana, he has virtually endorsed the strident demand of Congress legislators and other prominent party leaders from Telangana region for a separate State.

The PCC president said the demand for carving new States came from all regions in the country. Vidharbha, Sourashtra, Bundelkhand are the few names he cited in this context, adding that even in Tamil Nadu, there were such demands from regions under the control of erstwhile Pallava, Chola and Pandya rulers.

The Congress Working Committee (CWC) could meet and adopt a resolution setting the pace of a wider discussion on smaller States, he opined. The PCC president returned to the city from Delhi last night midway through the exercise on the PCC executive committee. He said he would be leaving for Delhi on Tuesday again for further consultations on the issue. ``I hope to return with the PCC list this time.''

Party sources said that the finalisation of the PCC executive was being delayed as the Central leadership was keen on accommodating the claims of different groups. Senior leaders including Mr. Kotla Vijayabhaskara Reddy, Mr. N. Janardhan Reddy, Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Mr. V. Hanumantha Rao and Mrs. Sarojini Pulla Reddy have already indicated their choices for the key posts in the PCC set-up and also for DCC posts.