Cong toying with idea of having Dy CM from Telangana

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New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) Seeking to buy time, Congresshigh command appears to be toying with the idea of having aDeputy Chief Minister and PCC chief in Andhra Pradesh fromTelangana region amid a growing clamour for a separate state.

A day after 14 party MPs from Telangana region metsenior party leaders Pranab Mukherjee and AK Antony, stateparty sources said that the top leadership was thinking onthese lines.

The contention is that since the Chief Minister isfrom a non-Telangana region, a Deputy Chief Minister as wellas PCC chief from Telangana could have a soothing effecton the agitation for a separate state. The current PCC chief DSrinivas also hails from Telangana but his term has come to anend.

With the Congress buffeted by Telangana issue and Y SJaganmohan Reddy''s rebellion, Mukherjee had in the meetingasked the MPs to "co-operate", the sources said.

He assured them that their views will be conveyed toparty President Sonia Gandhi.

"Mukherjee also said that he understands our point ofview and the government is trying to sort out the issue," theyadded.

However, the MPs remained firm on their demand. "Thereis no question of going back. We are not going to rest withanything other than the separate state of Telangana," a seniorMP from Telangana region said.

In the meeting, the party MPs have submitted a briefmemorandum to Mukherjee saying, "We assert in one voice thatthere is no alternative to separate Telangana.... This isthe inalienable demand of the people of Telangana and weresolve to stand by people."

The sources said that Mukherjee wanted to meet the MPsindividually but they insisted on coming together "so that noconfusion remained among us".

Emerging out of the meeting, Rajya Sabha member andsenior party leader from Telengana K Keshava Rao had said, "Weare absolutely hopeful. There is not even an iota of doubt."He was asked if they were hopeful that their demand forseparate state would be accepted by the party leadership.

Another party MP P Hanumanta Rao had said, "We wantseparate Telangana. It is a people''s movement."

The meeting had come a day after the former party MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy organised a one-day fast here, which wasattended by two dozen Congress MLAs including a few fromTelangana region.

Congress is so far maintaining a wait-and-watchapproach on the challenge thrown up by the SrikrishnaCommittee report on Telangana, which has given variousoptions including keeping the state united as well asformation of a separate Telangana.

The party is banking heavily on newly installed ChiefMinister Kiran Kumar Reddy to tackle the situation, givingmore than just a hint that it was an "acid test" and if hecould prove his leadership, it would be better for him and theparty.

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