New Delhi / Hyderabad: The Union government has set up a five-member committee to look into the demand for carving Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.

Statehood demand: A file photo of protests at Osmania University. The home ministry said the panel will hold talks with ‘all sections’. PTI

Political parties in Andhra Pradesh were guarded about the development as the terms of reference for the panel have not been announced yet.

The committee, headed by retired Supreme Court judge B.N. Krishna, was formed to “hold wide-ranging consultation with all sections of the people and all political parties and groups in Andhra Pradesh", the home ministry said in a note.

The ministry said the terms of reference were being drafted and would be announced shortly.

The other panel members are Ranbir Singh, vice-chancellor, National law University, New Delhi; Abusaleh Shariff, senior research fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute; Ravinder Kaur, professor, department of humanities and social sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi; and V. K. Duggal, former home secretary.

Congress leaders from the Telangana region interpreted the setting up of the committee as a positive development towards the creation of a new state.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which has been spearheading the separate statehood movement, and the all-party Telangana joint action committee have demanded that the Centre set a time frame for bifurcating the state.

After months of protests by TRS and students from the Telangana region, which includes Hyderabad, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, the government on 9 December agreed to the formation of a new state.

But after legislators from coastal parts of the state and Rayalaseema regions, including those from the ruling Congress party, protested against a bifurcation, the government said it preferred a consultation process to arrive at a consensus on the issue.