NATIONAL

A.P. Cong. leaders discuss preparedness

NEW DELHI NOV. 13. With the ruling Telugu Desam Party deciding to go in for early elections in Andhra Pradesh, the State Congress leaders today held a series of discussions on poll preparedness, strategy and to address various aspects including the demand for separate Telengana party unit.

The Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, today told the party members to close ranks and work to regain power in the State. The message was conveyed through the pradesh Congress chief, D. Srinivas, who called on her today. The statement assumes significance in the wake of the threat of revolt by a section of the party MLAs from the Telengana region, seeking a separate set up.

Mr. Srinivas and the Legislature Party leader, Y.S. Rajasekara Reddy, have been camping here since Monday and have had several rounds of meetings with central leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmed Patel and Manmohan Singh.

There is no indication as to what decision the party would take on the contentious issue of a separate Telengana, party unit or a separate election committee which the MLAs have been pressing for. Earlier, when the demand for a separate State was raised, the AICC Committee on Smaller States, which went into it, suggested that the Centre constitute a second States Reorganisation Commission to consider the demands from various regions. The argument being that since the Congress was neither in power at the Centre nor in Andhra Pradesh, the party was not in a position to offer a firm word on it.

Both Mr. Srinivas and Dr. Reddy have maintained that the issue would be sorted out shortly. Earlier, Mr. Srinivas told correspondents that there was a suggestion that the Congress have an understanding with the Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and the Left parties for the Assembly polls.