Congress hopes Jan 5 meet yields consensus on Telangana


New Delhi : The Congress Sunday hoped that a consensus would be reached on creating a new state of Telangana at the Jan 5 meeting the central government has conevened with representatives of eight recognised political parties from Andhra Pradesh.

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“We hope a consensus is reached,” Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told IANS.

The spokesman said the Congress favoured creating a separate state of Telangana but wanted it to be done in a congenial atmosphere without any bad blood. “We are not against statehood to Telangana,” he said.

Ahmed said party representatives for the Jan 5 meeting will meet central leaders to finalise the party’s stance.

Asked if the Congress will speak in one voice at the meeting given the divisions in its ranks in Andhra Pradesh, Ahmed said the “party will have one view”.

He said the central government was committed to the process of creating the new state but would move further after ascertaining the views of political parties. “The government will try for broad consensus for taking further steps,” he said.

Congress sources said the party was keen to send representatives from all the three regions of the state for the meeting.

The Congress has decided on the names of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president D. Srinivas, who hails from Telangana, K. Sambasiva Rao, Lok Sabha member from Eluru (coastal Andhra), and Agriculture Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy, a legislator from Kalyandurg (Rayalaseema). Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah is also expected to attend the meeting.

Following a spate of statements and accusations from its leaders on both sides of the Telangana divide, the Congress leadership cracked the whip Friday by issuing notice to Andhra Pradesh Information Technology Minister K. Venkat Reddy for “deliberately lowering rhe party’s prestige.”

Reddy had criticised Rosaiah and had refused to withdraw his resignation when other cabinet colleagues from Telangana withdrew their papers following the announcement of the all-party meeting.

The party followed it up Saturday by issuing showcause notices to an MP each from the two sides of Telangana divide for lowering the party’s dignity.

L. Rajagopal, an MP from Vijayawada, and Madhu Y. Goud, who is from Nizamabad in Telangana, were issued notices for breaching party discipline.

The administration in Andhra Pradesh has come to a virtual standstill since the central government Dec 9 gave in-principle clearance to creating a separate state of Telangana.

Congress MPs and legislators from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions revolted against the move. The second announcement by the government on Dec 23 led to renewed agitations in the Telangana region.