As the United Progressive Alliance government grapples with the demand for a separate Telangana state, an influential section in the Congress indicated that a Telangana territorial council - and not a separate state - might be a practical way forward to resolve the issue.
A Congress leader, however, emphasised that the proposal was a trial balloon to gauge the reaction of the pro-Telangana groups in Andhra Pradesh. "It is a trial balloon that can be quickly shot down, or be allowed to float depending on the reaction on the ground," he said.
The concept of a territorial council - on the lines of the one negotiated with Bodo militants demanding statehood in Assam by the NDA in 2003 - envisages autonomy in development-related issues for the region.
This section has consistently argued that accepting the demand at this juncture would prove counter-productive for the Congress in all the three regions - Andhra, Rayalaseema and Telangana - in the state.
But hectic consultations on the issue were still on at various levels.
A day after he met President Pranab Mukherjee and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Andhra Pradesh CM Kiran Kumar Reddy met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Tuesday.
Reddy- who left for Hyderabad soon after- had detailed discussions with central leaders on the current political situation in the state. State Congress chief Botcha Satyanarayana is also expected in New Delhi soon.
Also, the Telangana Joint Action Committee, comprising students, employees and political entities is intensifying its campaign to build pressure on the UPA government and public representatives on their demand for a separate state.