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No Breakthrough In All Party Meet On Telangana

PTI 05 Jan 2010, 17:50:26 IST

The all-party meeting on the Telangana issue on Tuesday failed to break any fresh ground with parties divided on the creation of a separate state and indications emerged that there could be further discussions.

Protagonists of separate Telangana K Chandrasekhar Rao of TRS and BJP's Bandaru Dattareya demanded that the Centre take immediate steps for formation of the new state while Praja Rajyam chief Chiranjeevi made it clear that his party was for a united Andhra Pradesh.

The actor-turned-politician said he favoured constitution of a committee for the involvement of all groups to go into the issue. BJP opposed any further consultation.

Rao, who is at the centre of the pro-Telangana campaign, said he was waiting for Centre's response.

Home Minister P Chidambaram, who talked to reporters after a meeting that lasted over four hours with leaders of eight political parties in Andhra Pradesh, admitted as much when he said it was quiet clear that parties were divided on the issue.

"It appears to me that no one is opposed to further consultations with other groups and stakeholders. Should such consultations become necessary, they were keen that it should be concluded within a reasonable time frame," he said.

Chidambaram said he told the leaders that he would take these views to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his senior cabinet colleagues and "I will come up with a decision or a statement of the government."

The leaders came out with a brief joint statement in which they appealed that peace, harmony and law and order should be maintained in the state.

Dattatreya insisted that the Centre should come out with a separate Telangana bill in the Budget session of Parliament.

Chandrasekhar Rao's son K T Rama Rao told reporters that his party was satisfied with the way the meeting was conducted. "The meeting was conducted in an orderly fashion. Everyone was given an opportunity to convey his views. We are satisfied."

Majlis MP Asaduddin Owaissi suggested a high-powered committee of senior bureaucrats or national leaders to go into the future of Andhra Pradesh and give its finding within a definite time frame so that a lasting solution could be found out to the satisfaction of all the three regions in the state.

In the meanwhile, he favoured imposition of President's rule in the state as there was no governance at the moment.

Earlier in his opening statement, Chidambaram made it clear that the agenda of the meeting was to "deliberate on the mechanism and lay down a road map for consultations".

Appealing to the leaders to show accommodation and goodwill and help the Centre find a solution, Chidambaram indicated that the Maoists would be happy if the political parties fail to hammer out a solution.

"I wish to caution all political parties that there are forces waiting on the wings who ridicule the parliamentary form of democracy and who would be happy if we collectively fail to find answers to the issues that concern us, and we should not give any room for these forces to gain strength or credence," Chidambaram said.

On the raging controversy over Centre's two statements on Telangana, he said there were a number of misconceptions surrounding the issue.

"There is a misconception that the Central government acted in a haste; that the political parties were not consulted; and that I, as Home Minister, acted as an individual.

"As you are all well aware, none of these misconceptions is supported by facts, but I shall not waste your time refuting these misconceptions," he said.

Chidambaram said the first statement of the Centre on initiating the process for Telangana was made on the basis of the minutes of the all party meeting held in Hyderabad on December 7.

He said it was true that the situation on the ground has altered significantly since then and taking note of that the Centre promised to hold wide ranging consultations with all political parties and groups in the state.  PTI