Seemandhra leaders meet PM

NEW DELHI: Stepping up pressure on the Centre, Congress lawmakers from non-Telangana regions today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that the Government should not bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, but were counselled patience by him.

As part of their campaign to counter the pro-Telangana protagonists within the party, the Ministers, MPs, MLAs and senior leaders from the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions are camping in Delhi to persuade the Centre and Congress High Command from taking any step that would hurt the unity of the people.

The large delegation led by Higher Education Minister K Sailajanath and senior MP K S Rao met Singh at his 7, Race Course Road residence for over 30 minutes and apprised him of the situation in the state.

The lawmakers said they categorically told the Prime Minister that Andhra Pradesh should be kept united and no move should be made to divide the state.

The leaders said they "clearly explained" their position to him.

Briefing reporters about the meeting, Sailajanath said the Prime Minister gave a patient hearing to them on all the issues raised and promised to "convey our sentiments" to AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is the party in-charge of Andhra Pradesh.

"The Prime Minister asked us to be patient. As disciplined Congress workers, he said everyone should wait (for a decision to be taken). He told us that he will convey our sentiments to Azad," Sailajanath said.

The delegation, comprising more than 15 state ministers, also told the Prime Minister that Andhra Pradesh should be kept united keeping in mind the "larger interest of the state."

The coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema leaders want the Centre to go by the sixth option recommended by the Justice B N Srikrishna Committee, which went into the statehood issue.

The sixth option states that Andhra Pradesh should be kept united with Constitutional/Statutory powers to Telangana and formation of a regional council to ensure development in that region too.

The delegation will also meet senior ministers Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony and P Chidambaram during the day to press their demand.

The delegation’s meetings comes on the heels of Congress leaders from Telangana region ignoring an invitation from Azad to come to New Delhi for talks.

The leaders are upset with Azad’s remarks in Beijing that the issue "cannot move an inch forward" unless the Andhra Pradesh Assembly passes a resolution favouring creation of Telangana.(PTI)

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