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Telangana: All eyes on Chidambaram's statement

December 22, 2009 22:03 IST

Senior Union ministers and party leaders on Tuesday held intensive discussions with Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh to bring down the heat on Telangana.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram is expected to issue a statement on Wednesday on Telangana, which the party hopes would undo some of the damage of the December 9 midnight statement by Chidambaram, without in any way going back on the statement made by the home minister.

Pranab Mukherjee and Veerappa Moily were closeted together in drafting the statement even as P Chidambaram went off to Kolkata for a visit.

But the pro-Telangana MPs are in a tizzy. They have made it clear there should be no dilution of the December 9 statement made by Chidambaram. In fact MPs, MLAs and others have shot off a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress president Sonia Gandhi saying that they would resign en masse and resume the Telanagana agitation if there was another statement on the issue.

Senior leaders Ahmed Patel, Chidambaram and Veerappa Moily met the pro-Telangana MPs followed by the MPs advocating a united Andhra. The united Andhra MPs have insisted on a statement saying they cannot go back to their constituencies till the time that the government comes out with a statement or as one of them put it, with a clarification on the issue of Telangana.

Sources say that that the original draft of the statement said that the Union government had gone ahead with the promise to initiate the process of forming Telangana after all political parties had come on board in support of the demand as was evident in the stand taken by them in the all party meeting.

But now that many of the parties, including the TDP, and others had gone back on their word, the government was in no position to bring about consensus in the assembly to pass the resolution and therefore it would explore other options of bringing about consensus and it appealed for peace and harmony.

But the pro-Telangana MPs and MLAs reacted strongly and have refused to accept any such statement. They have made it clear that there can be no question of going back on any of the points.

It is now a clear fact that any resolution advocating a separate state of Telangana cannot be passed in the state assembly since the majority is of the MLAs belonging to united Andhra.

The Centre has been trying to scare these MPs with the dissolution of the state assembly and fresh elections and has been using whatever methods it has at its disposal to bring the warring factions to close the chasm.

For the moment the statement has been postponed till Wednesday. There is an attempt to draft it with utmost care, says a senior leader so that the feelings of either side are not hurt and instead it creates an atmosphere of amiability and acts as the first step in bringing the tense situation under some semblance of control.

MPs say that the prime minister's assurance that the issue would be resolved by Wednesday served the purpose of putting MPs on alert and made the pro-Telangana MPs harden their line even further.
Renu Mittal in New Delhi