New Delhi, Dec. 30: The Centre has decided to move with extreme caution on Telangana, putting off the planned announcement of a mechanism to resolve the crisis.
The home ministry has invited all the eight recognised parties of Andhra Pradesh to discuss Telangana on January 5 a move that stands in sharp contrast with two statements earlier in haste that triggered unrest in the state.
The rethink occurred after caretaker governor E.S.L. Narasimhan advised the Centre not to react in panic.
Sources revealed that the governor sent a law and order report yesterday, primarily suggesting there was no reason for panic and that the Centre should take a measured decision keeping the long-term policy perspective in mind.
The governor said the violent agitation was manageable and it would be difficult for the opponents of Telangana to sustain their campaign for long.
Narasimhan, the full-time governor of Chhattisgarh and a former Intelligence Bureau chief, was given charge of Andhra Pradesh because of his administrative experience.
The sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P. Chidambaram discussed the governors report and altered the decision to announce a mechanism immediately.
Instead, they opted for the political process, a decision endorsed by many senior Congress leaders.
The governor had sent three fax reports to the home ministry after meeting leaders from many parties, including chief minister K. Rosaiah and TRS leader K. Chandrashekhar Rao.
A TRS leader said the party would attend the meeting in Delhi, though Rao did not make any public statement.
Although Narasimhans initiative to hold a review meeting evoked sharp reactions from the Opposition parties in the state, which described the situation as proxy Presidents rule, his assessment enabled the Centre to review its approach and avoid making any fresh commitment which could have given another handle to the agitators.
The sources said the decision to give charge of Andhra to Narasimhan was taken after much consideration, and the Prime Minister would have liked to shift him to Hyderabad permanently.
But Narasimhan is already handling a difficult job in Maoist-affected Chhattisgarh where a security operation is in progress. Narasimhan is an Andhra cadre IPS officer, and normally an official is not made the governor in the state to whose cadre he belongs.
The sources said he would stay put in Hyderabad for some time and assist the chief minister in tackling the agitation.
Narasimhan has met several top police and intelligence officers of the state and given them directives on defusing the crisis. He is also in touch with national security adviser M.K. Narayanan and the Union home secretary.