Political parties divided over Telangana issue
New Delhi: A key meeting of political parties has begun in the Indian capital, Delhi, to prepare a "road map" for the proposed new state of Telangana. Early last month the government announced that the new state would be carved out of the southern districts of Andhra Pradesh state. But later it reversed the move, saying more consultations were needed. But several Andhra Pradesh ministers resigned after the policy reversal and there were fresh protests in the state. After the government announced Tuesday's meeting, the ministers decided not to resign. Federal Home Minister P Chidambaram has denied accusations that the government was "dithering" over the creation of the new state. Mr Chidambaram said that because there were "deep divisions within major political parties" over the Telangana issue, the government had decided to hold talks with all the main political parties in January. Media reports suggest that a consensus among the political parties over the formation of a new state at Tuesday's meeting is unlikely.
Out of the eight parties attending the meeting, three are supporting the new state, two have opposed it, while the remaining two, including the ruling Congress party, are "ambivalent" about the demand, reports say.
Political parties divided over Telangana issue; appeal for peace and harmony in Andhra Pradesh
The all-party meeting on the Telangana issue could not come out with a break through as the parties remained divided on the creation of a separate state. However, the representatives of all the eight parties that took part in the meeting wanted normalcy to be restored and made a joint appeal for peace and harmony in the state. They also felt that if further consultations were necessary with other stake holders and groups then they should be held within a reasonable time frame. Home Minister P Chidambaram, while admitting that parties held different views on the issue, said that it was a good meeting and he will take their views to the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues and formulate course of action.
AIR correspondent reports that even as the meeting was on, pro-Telangana and united Andhra Pradesh supporters shouted slogans to press their demands.
In Andhra Pradesh, rail and road commuters have faced severe inconvenience as several trains have been delayed for hours due to Rail Roko held in all the three regions of the state on Tuesday. The Joint Action Committees of both Telangana and of Unified State have called for continuation of agitation and protests even as the political parties agreed to continue consultations over Telanagana.