The road to Telangana would be long and arduous and involve a lot of consultations before a mechanism is finally hammered out.
This was the message after Home Minister P Chidambaram’s four-hour meeting with representatives of eight political parties from Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday to “deliberate on the mechanism and lay down a road map for consultations”.
The participants remained divided. Many blamed the state and Union governments for the crisis and put the ball back in the Centre’s court to resolve the issue.
After the meeting, Chidambaram admitted the parties “have given different views”. But he sought to identify the positives. “It appears to me that no one is seriously opposed to further consultations with other groups and stakeholders. Should such consultations become necessary, they were keen that it should be concluded within a reasonable timeframe.”
He said a mechanism must be evolved and the Centre would act on the “sense” of the meeting and take it forward within a “reasonable” timeframe.
The home minister said he would apprise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other cabinet colleagues on the deliberations. After that, “I will come up with a decision or a statement of the government.”
At the meeting, TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao called for a separate Telangana. BJP’s Bandaru Dattatreya opposed further consultations and demanded the Centre take immediate steps to create a new state by introducing a bill in the budget session of Parliament. The CPM opposed bifurcation. Praja Rajyam chief Chiranjeevi pitched for a united Andhra Pradesh and a panel to talk to other stakeholders. “I am not fully satisfied with the meeting,” he said.
Sources said Rao would wait for the Centre’s response before deciding the next step, but he wanted Chidambaram to hold further consultations if needed. Rao is slated to meet Chidambaram on Wednesday.
The Congress and the TDP remained divided. The Congress’s Uttamkumar Reddy calling for a separate Telangana while KS Rao left it to the Centre to decide on a mechanism. TDP’s Y Krishnadhu blamed the Congress for the crisis.