Sonia holds T meet

Discusses Govt’s options on Telangana
Shinde briefs leaders on outcome of All-Party meet

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday went into a huddle with top Congress leaders on Telangana. As Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has set one-month deadline for a decision on Telangana, Sonia Gandhi called all senior leaders and those handling Andhra Pradesh affairs, for a stock-taking meeting. No decision, however, was taken at the meeting.

According to party sources, Shinde briefed the top Congress leaders on the outcome of the all-party meeting on Telangana, which he had convened on December 28. The Congress High Command has to take the final decision on Telangana, before the government can proceed in the matter. It is against this backdrop that the meeting held by Sonia Gandhi assumes significance. The party is struggling to arrive at some decision on the vexed issue of Telangana.

The meeting, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, was attended by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony, Congress president’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, AICC general-secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad, AICC Observer Vayalar Ravi and AICC general-secretary Digvijay Singh, who had handled Andhra Pradesh affairs in the past.

The meeting was essentially to review the deliberations and outcome of the all-party meeting and considered all the options open to the party on the issue of Telangana. Clearly, the Congress High Command is trying to factor in the political fallout of whatever the decision the party may finally take.

The party leaders apprehend that whatever decision the party takes on the issue, it is bound to cause strong reaction from one of the two regions. The party is not only considering the options but is also bracing for any possible political fallout.

It was for the first time that Home Minister Shinde made a commitment that within a month a decision would be taken. At none of the meetings called in the past, has the Congress taken such a clear-cut stand. It also seems to be an indication that the party is conscious of the fact that it cannot any longer drag its feet on the issue. The party has to take some decision now.

Even at the all-party meeting on Telangana, the thrust was that most of the political parties insisted that the Congress and the Centre should take a decision on Telangana. The Centre has exhaustively gone through the exercise of consulting all the stakeholders and now it is time for a decision.

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