A day before its month-long deadline to resolve the Telangana issue was to expire, the Centre on Sunday postponed a final decision yet again saying a “little more time” was needed.
Taking a similar stance, the Congress party said it has invited leaders from all regions of the state to hold “further consultations” and stressed that no fresh deadline has been set to decide on the highly controversial issue of carving a separate Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, things took a grim turn in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
Even before the news of the shift in deadline broke, pro-Telangana activists launched a 36-hour programme to mount pressure on the government to concede to their demand.
Home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had categorically stated on December 28 that a decision would be announced within a month. However, on Sunday, he chose to skip any reference to the deadline set by him.
In a brief statement, he said, “It may take a little more time to reach a final decision.”
Congress general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad, while downplaying the ‘deadline’, said there was a need for “more consultations with senior leaders of Andhra Pradesh and of all three regions and for that we shall have to invite them here”.
Leaders of various parties courted arrest in Hyderabad to protest what they called the “Congress’s betrayal of the region” when they tried to march towards Indira Park, the venue of the protest programme by the Telangana Joint Action Committee.
Tension also prevailed on the Osmania University campus. A group of pro-Telangana students pelted police with stones when they were prevented from taking out a rally.