Sushil Kumar Shinde
New Delhi, Dec. 28: The Centre has set itself a one-month deadline to decide on statehood for Telangana, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said today after an eight-party meeting.
“I heard carefully from all the parties. I will discuss the issue with the government and within one month will come out with (the) result,” Shinde said after the 90-minute meeting.
Many had expected a decision today. “Guftam, Nashishtam, Barkhastam,” Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen MP Asaduddin Owaisi told The Telegraph, quoting a Persian proverb that means roughly that people met, discussed and left without a concrete result.
A pro-statehood crowd shouted slogans outside the meeting venue in North Block before police pushed them back. Shinde appealed for peace though the media.
“The government is taking a decision, sab achchha hi ho jayega (everything will be alright),” said the home minister who had served as Andhra Pradesh governor between November 2004 and January 2006. He added a caveat: whatever the decision is, it is unlikely to make everyone happy.
Immediately after the meeting, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao called for a bandh in the Telangana region tomorrow, accusing the Centre of procrastinating over a decision he said could have been taken in a week.
But the government is concerned about other statehood demands, especially in the Northeast. The Bodos want a Bodoland state and their organisations have cited Telangana to press their demand.
In Bengal, the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha has accepted an interim arrangement for now but is watching the Telangana outcome keenly.
During the meeting, the split among the Congress representatives from Andhra Pradesh was visible. G. Venkat Reddy and former Assembly Speaker Suresh Reddy aired divergent views, the first for a united Andhra and the second for a Telangana state.
Among the eight parties who participated, the Congress, YSR Congress and the CPM did not commit themselves; the TRS, CPI, Telugu Desam and BJP were in favour of statehood; and Owaisi’s party batted for a “Rayala-Telangana” state that would include two districts from the Rayalaseema region.
YSR Congress representative Mysura Reddy sat on the fence, saying his party respected the sentiments in Telangana but wanted the government to take a decision so that “justice is done”.
The B.N Srikrishna Committee, which handed in a report to the government in December 2010, had suggested six possible solutions.