Hyderabad: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress party president Sonia Gandhi held meetings with ministers in New Delhi late on Wednesday night to defuse the crisis in Andhra Pradesh triggered by Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s fast-unto-death.
Rao’s fast, which has heightened the campaign for a separate Telangana state to be carved out of Andhra Pradesh, entered its 11th day on Wednesday, while the students’ joint action committee called for a protest march to the legislative assembly on Thursday. Assembly proceedings were also stalled by the TRS.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister K. Rosaiah was in New Delhi to meet government and party leaders and discuss the growing protests, even as more forces were put on the streets to quell violence in the state.
Singh chaired two rounds of discussions of the Congress core group with Gandhi and senior ministers in which various proposals were discussed.
Home minister P. Chidambaram, defence minister A.K. Antony and law minister Veerappa Moily were among the ministers involved in the meetings. Rosaiah told reporters in New Delhi that it was for the Centre to take a decision factoring in all issues.
Meanwhile, 29 Congress members of the legislative assembly from Telangana have written to Gandhi urging the party high command to expedite a decision on the issue.
Rao is leading an agitation to carve out a separate Telangana state from 10 districts. He is currently in the intensive care unit of the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, the state capital that is also a part of the Telangana region. His doctors said in an official health bulletin on Wednesday evening that his condition was turning critical and he needed a diet of solid food to avert further health complications.
A.R. Anuradha, inspector general of police, said 20 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force were deployed in Telangana, in addition to around 13,000 police personnel deployed across the state. She added that around 22,000 people were taken into preventive custody after last week’s violence.
The police have also prohibited gatherings across the Telangana region and restricted entry of people from the region to Hyderabad.
In a setback to the government, authorities were directed by a court to reopen hostels in the universities of Telangana region that were shut on Tuesday.