Hyderabad/ New Delhi: The ruling Congress party on Wednesday indicated that a decision on statehood for the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be taken before the 28 January deadline set by home minister Sushilkumar Shinde last month.
Congress general secretary and Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said meetings are still under way to resolve the issue. Shinde said on 28 December that a decision on demands for the division of Andhra Pradesh to create a separate Telangana state would be announced within a month.
Azad cited the Congress preoccupation with last week’s three-day party conclave in Jaipur and the upcoming weekend holiday as the reason for the delay. “We have been trying hard to resolve it. It’s an important issue. Bottomline is that we have decided to resolve it,” he said.
Another Congress general secretary, who did not want to be identified, said a final decision on Telangana statehood has not yet been taken.
Madhu Yashki Goud, a Congress member of Parliament, said Azad’s statement should not be read as a sign of the party’s reluctance to confer statehood on the region that has witnessed period bouts of unrest since late 2009 when the Congress first promised to take measures to create a separate state and then pushed the issue to the backburner. “It’s just a temporary delay, as the government is trying to build some kind of consensus on the matter,” he said.
Congress flip-flops on Telangana statehood will only fuel more unrest in the region, said T. Harish Rao, a state lawmaker and nephew of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, who has led the agitation for statehood. TRS said it will intensify campaign in coming days with the support of Telangana Joint Action Committee, an umbrella body of groups agitating for a separate state.
PTI contributed to the story.