Delhi/Hyderabad: The agitation for a separate state
gained further momentum Friday with a shutdown called by Telangana
groups across the region in Andhra Pradesh badly affecting life as
the Congress core committee met in the national capital to discuss
a report by state-in charge Ghulam Nabi Azad and decided to hold
further talks on the issue.
A day-long shutdown called by the Telangana Joint Action Committee
(JAC) as part of the ongoing general strike for a separate
Telangana state hit normal life in Hyderabad Friday. The shutdown
was peaceful and near total in most parts of Hyderabad and its
twin city Secunderabad as shops, business establishment and
educational institutions were closed.
The JAC has also called for indefinite industrial shutdown in four
of the region's nine districts from Oct 3 - Khammam, Warangal,
Karimnagar and Adilabad.
The strike by government employees and workers of Singareni
Collieries continued for the 18th day Friday while the strike by
employees of the state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC)
ensured the state buses remained off the road for the 12th day.
The strike by about 70,000 employees of Singareni Collieries has
paralysed coal production in 50 mines spread over four districts.
The strike has so far caused a loss of over Rs.300 crore and
affected power generation in thermal power stations.
In New Delhi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi attended the party
core committee meeting, held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's
official residence and attended by senior ministers and leaders.
Since the issue of Telangana is a highly complicated one, the
committee has suggested further discussions in the party, in the
government and between the government and other parties, an
informed source told IANS.
Friday's meeting discussed the report on the situation in Andhra
Pradesh prepared by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is party
in-charge of the state. However, the report was not categorical on
a solution, sources added.
Azad had submitted the report to Gandhi earlier in the day. The
report has been prepared after assessing the views of party
leaders from various parts of the state.
Meanwhile, several MPs and leaders of the Congress have been
camping in Delhi to persuade the leadership for an early decision.
The situation in Telangana has been highly volatile in the past
few days because of the resumed agitation for the statehood.
Several party leaders from Telangana region met Finance Minister
Pranab Mukherjee Thursday to press for for statehood for Telangana.
Congress MP from Nizamabad Madhu Goud Yaskhi told IANS that there
were indications the party leadership will take a decision in
favour of a separate Telangana.
He said once a decision is taken by the Congress on demand for new
state, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will take
it up further.
He said other parties such as Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and All
India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) seemed to be waiting
for the stand of the Congress.
Another party leader, K. Keshava Rao, said that party leaders were
keen to stay in the capital till a decision is taken on the demand
for creation of new state.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao and
other leaders of the Telangana movement Friday left for New Delhi
to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urge him to take an
early decision on formation of a separate state.
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, told reporters that the 30-member
delegation would call on the prime minister, Leader of Opposition
in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and other key leaders Saturday.
KCR, a member of parliament, alleged that the state government was
trying to give a violent turn to the ongoing agitation.