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Telangana: Congress steps up consultations; says no to president's rule

Saturday October 08, 2011 11:10:00 PM, IANS

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New Delhi/Hyderabad: The Congress Saturday ruled out imposition of president's rule in Andhra Pradesh even as it held hectic consultations led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other ministers about the situation in Telangana, where the agitation for a separate state continued for the 27th day.

"There is no question of president's rule for the moment," Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is also in charge of Congress affairs in Andhra Pradesh, told reporters after a high-level meeting in New Delhi attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, other ministers, state Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and state leaders.

Mukherjee indicated that the Congress leadership will be able to conclude the consultation process by Monday but did not give a timeframe for a solution.

The meeting was also attended by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy and office-bearers of the state Congress committee.

"Today's meeting is a part of the consultation process," said Azad, who last week submitted to the party central leadership a report on the situation in the state.

Kiran Reddy said that "a solution would be found soon" to the Telangana crisis by the party central leadership.

"I have come here to discuses aspirations of the people of Andhra Pradesh and to find amicable solution for everyone. I have given my opinion and soon they will come out with some solution for benefit of state," he said.

Kiran Reddy said he did not see any reason for president's rule in the state. "What is the need for it," he asked.

Earlier in the day, Manmohan Singh met Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan in New Delhi.

Before that, Narasimhan met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and submitted a report on the situation in agitation-hit Telangana.

The meetings come in the wake of the agitation for a separate Telangana state, which has hit normal life in the region for the past 26 days. The Telangana Joint Action Committee has threatened a three-day "rail roko" stir next week.

Mukherjee, who held separate meetings with Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi Friday, had said the government needed "more time" for further consultations on the issue.

Manmohan Singh had met Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao and Congress leaders from the region last week. However, he had made no assurance to either, prompting the TRS chief to threaten an intensification of the stir.

Political circles say that the option of president's rule came up before the Congress leadership, but was been deferred for various reasons. One factor is whether the the combined opposition parties could stall any such decision in parliament.

Ministers from Andhra Pradesh in the council of ministers including Jaipal Reddy, Tribal Affairs Minister Kishore Chandra Deo, Minister of State for Human Resource Development D. Purandeswari and Minister of State for Defence M. M. Pallam Raju met the party leadership and gave their assessment of the situation.

Pallam Raju said that there were apprehensions about the fall-out of the agitation. "Investments are not possible in this atmosphere," he told reporters in New Delhi.

Reports from Hyderabad said that normal life in Telangana remained paralysed because of the agitation.







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