Congress expresses divided opinion before GoM on Telangana

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New Delhi/Hyderabad, Nov 12:  The ruling Congress party on Tuesday expressed a divided opinion before the Group of Ministers (GoM) on bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh while four other parties supporting formation of a separate Telangana state made various suggestions.

The GoM heard two leaders of the Congress, representing Telangana and Seemandhra regions, respectively.

While Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha sought tabling of the Telangana bill in the winter session of parliament, Tourism Minister Vatti Vasant Kumar demanded that the Centre review the decision and explained the problems the bifurcation would lead to.

The GoM heard leaders of five parties Tuesday, the first day of the two-day meeting with eight parties from the state.

Congress and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leaders met the GoM separately in the evening at the North Block.

The GoM heard two leaders of the Congress, representing Telangana and Seemandhra

Earlier, the ministerial group heard Majlis-e-Ittehedul Muslimeen (MIM), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Communist Party of India (CPI).

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily and Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office V. Narayanasamy heard the views of the parties.

Each party got 20 minutes to make their presentations before the GoM. The ministers also sought clarifications with regard to some issues.

The ministerial group has invited Telugu Desam Party (TDP), YSR Congress party and Communist Party of India (Marxist) Wednesday.

TDP has declared that it would not send its leaders for the meeting to protest the "unilateral" manner in which the central government is going ahead with the bifurcation.

Two Congress leaders submitted separate reports to the GoM.

After the meeting, Rajanarasimha told reporters that Telangana would be formed by Jan 1, 2014.

He also demanded that the bill to carve out Telangana state be tabled in parliament immediately.

On the other hand, Vasant Kumar, representing Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) opposed the centre's decision to bifurcate the state.

He explained to the GoM the problems both the regions would face after the division. He also highlighted the concerns of Seemandhra people living in Hyderabad.

TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao and party general secretary K. Keshava Rao were the last to meet the GoM.

They made it clear that any conditions on Telangana and Hyderabad would be unconstitutional and would not be accepted by the people.

"Telangana is going to be 29th state of the country. The centre's relations with Telangana should be no different from its relations with 28 states," the TRS chief said.

Chandrasekhara Rao said he would seek support of all the parties for the Telangana bill to be tabled in parliament next month.

MIM strongly opposed the idea of Hyderabad as a common capital or union territory and also the demands that law and order in Hyderabad and some other subjects be kept with the centre. MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi was the only party leader who met the GoM.

Two leaders each from BJP and CPI met the GoM. Their delegations included a leader each from Seemandhra. The two parties sought immediate formation of Telangana state but also wanted the centre to address the concerns of Seemandhra.

Owaisi, member of parliament from Hyderabad, explained to the GoM that keeping law and order in Hyderabad and other subjects with the centre would be unconstitutional.

He demanded that a part of Hyderabad be made an interim capital of the two states, with a clear timeframe to develop a new capital of Seemandhra.

The MIM chief, who submitted a supplementary memorandum to the GoM, termed as "absolute rubbish" that Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) people living in Hyderabad would face a threat after bifurcation.

BJP leader Kishan Reddy said they made it clear that the BJP's stand on formation of Telangana state comprising 10 districts with Hyderabad as the capital. They also wanted the centre to allay apprehensions of Seemandhra people.

CPI, which is also supporting formation of Telangana, suggested a separate mechanism to maintain law and order in Hyderabad till a permanent capital for Seemandhra is developed.

IANS

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