By Mohammed Shafeeq
Hyderabad: Notwithstanding the high expectations that a section of Congress leaders have, the all-party meeting convened by the central government over the Telangana issue Dec 28 is not likely to achieve any breakthrough in finding a solution to the contentious issue.
With just two days to go for the much-awaited meet, three major parties in Andhra Pradesh are yet to name their representatives, indicating their dilemma in taking a clear stand on the issue.
The ruling Congress, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSR Congress, which is emerging as a key force, remain divided along regional lines.
With Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde inviting two representatives from each party, all the three are under pressure to send delegates from both Telangana and Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra regions).
While their leaders from Telangana want statehood, their counterparts from Seemandhra are opposed to Andhra Pradesh’s division.
Five other parties invited to the meet which have taken a clear stand on the issue have announced their representatives.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) want a Telangana state. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) are opposed to the state’s bifurcation.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, in-charge of party affairs in the state, has dampened the spirits of Telangana leaders by stating that since Shinde recently took over as the home minister, he convened the meeting to know the views of the parties afresh.
Political observers say if eliciting the opinion of the parties is the purpose of the meeting, it will not achieve any breakthrough.
Since the divergent views in the major parties are known and with no hopes of unanimity, the meeting may end in a failure like the two previous ones held in 2010 and 2011.
Congress leaders from Telangana, including some MPs, had asked Shinde to invite only one representative from each party.
The Congress is finding itself in a tight spot over the issue as there is pressure both from within and outside to take a clear stand.
The TDP and the YSR Congress are in fact waiting for the ruling party to declare its stand.
The Congress is reluctant. “We will take a stand after hearing other parties,” said state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana.
A section of Congress leaders are pessimistic about the outcome of the all-party meeting.
They believe the central government is not inclined to carve out Telangana state as this could trigger demands for smaller states in other parts of the country.
The Congress leadership is keen to drag the issue till the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Some of its leaders from Telangana, however, have warned that the party may have to pay a heavy price in the region.
With the TRS and pro-Telangana groups threatening to crush parties which don’t support the Telangana demand, both the Congress and TDP face desertions in the region, made up of 10 districts including Hyderabad.
The upcoming meeting appears to be aimed at pacifying a section of its MPs from Telangana who set Dec 9 as the deadline for an announcement on taking forward the Telangana movement.
The Srikrishna committee report, submitted in December 2010, is also gathering dust. The panel had mooted six possible solutions to the issue.