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AP CM Reddy meets Sonia Gandhi over Telangana issue

AP CM Reddy meets Sonia Gandhi over Telangana issue

New Delhi: Ahead of the crucial Congress meeting on Telangana, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kirankumar Reddy Friday met Congress President Sonia Gandhi and briefed her about the political situation in the State.

The meeting came amid indications that Congress has decided to spell out a clear stand on the vexed issue of separate statehood soon.

Sources said that more than half a dozen Lok Sabha MPs from Telangana region today held a meeting at the residence of MP Ponnam Prabhakar. The meeting was also attended by ministers from Telangana region in the Reddy-led government in the state.

The MPs Prabhakar, Madhuyakshi Goud, Sukhender Reddy, S Rajaiah, Suresh Kumar Shetkar and others also held a meeting at the residence of AICC secretary and a senior leader from the region V Haumantha Rao.

The pro-Telangana leaders have plans to meet AICC general secretary in-charge for the state Digvijay Singh and Gandhi's secretary Ahmed Patel before the Core Group meeting in which some finality on the issue is expected.

In the Core Group meeting, which will also be attended by Rahul Gandhi, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, PCC Chief Botsa Satyanarayana and Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha will give a presentation on the issue of Telangana.

Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was the AICC in-charge of Andhra Pradesh before Digvijay is also expected to attend the Core Group meeting.

Maintaining that a decision cannot be postponed "anymore" Singh had yesterday said that the Core Group meeting will discuss the Telangana issue with "both options open"--status quo or creation of a separate state.

"This has to be decided by Government of India in consultation with UPA partners. As this may also need amendment to the Constitution, we may have to take Opposition parties also on board," Singh had said.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who as Home Minister had on December 9, 2009 announced the starting of the process of formation of the state, is abroad and hence will not be able to attend the meeting.

The meeting chaired by the Congress President with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by her side will have the full attendance of Core Group members minus Chidambaram.

They include Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Defence Minister A K Antony and the Congress President's political secretary Ahmed Patel. Antony is also the head of the Congress sub committee on alliance.

A decision on Telangana is being taken amid a talk for an alliance with YSR Jaganmohan Reddy's YSR Congress in the state.

Chief Minister Reddy, PCC Chief Satyanarayana and Deputy Chief Minister Rajanarasimha are also likely to meet Digvijay Singh before the Core Group meeting.

Singh had submitted a report on the Telangana issue to Gandhi last week.

To questions about the party's commitment on the issue, Singh had said yesterday, "If you see the manifesto, we had promised Second State Reorganization Commission."

In the 2004 manifesto, the Congress did not promise anything specifically on Telangana.

But subsequently after the elections when it tied up with pro-Telangana TRS to form the government at the Centre, the Common Minimum Programme of the coalition said the UPA government will consider the demand for formation of a Telangana state at an appropriate time after due consultations and consensus.

The issue of separate statehood in the state has virtually bifurcated all parties in Andhra Pradesh on pro and anti Telangana lines.

In February 2010, the government appointed a five-member committee headed by Justice Sri Krishna to look into the issue, which came up with six solutions to the problem including keeping the state united.

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