'Sonia will take historic decision on Telangana'

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Hyderabad, May 24: Expressing confidence that Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi would take a ''historic decision'' on statehood for Telangana, APCC President D Srinivas today urged the people to strengthen the hands of the ruling party in the May 29 Lok Sabha bypolls to persuade the Centre and hasten the process.

Participating in a meet-the-press programme organised by the Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists here he said the Congress party was in the forefront of achieving separate statehood for Telangana. ''I have faith in Ms Gandhi, who is seized of the issue. The Congress party and the UPA alone can deliver Telangana'', he added.

He, however, parried a question whether the demand would be conceded before the 2009 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections if his party won by a overwhelming majority in the byelections.

The BJP, which went back on its promise of one vote two states to satisfy its poll ally Telugu Desam Party, could not be trusted now as it had given a written commitment to the UPA sub-Committee on Telangana, he claimed.

Maintaining that the bypolls was unnecessarily forced by Telangana Rashtra Samiti President K Chandrasekara Rao on the people, he said the polls were neither a referendum on the Telangana issue nor on the performance of the Congress Government in the state. He contended that the inefficiency of the TRS was thoroughly exposed following his ''failure'' to take leaders of various parties and organisations into confidence and work unitedly to achieve the goal.

''The TRS is not in a position to get statehood for Telangana even if all the seats are won by it in the byelections,'' he claimed.

He opined that an assembly resolution on the issue was not necessary and the Union Government was competent to take a decision and inform the state Assembly later.

Without waiting for the Centre's decision on the vexed issue, the Congress Government was concentrating on stepping up implementation of welfare schemes and developmental programmes in Telangana and other regions of the state, he added.

The constitution of the Second States' Reorganisation Commission at this stage would not be appropriate, he felt.


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