In a clear indication of the Congress party’s thinking on the Telangana statehood issue, senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad called up Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi late Friday night to seek his views on the creation of Rayala-Telangana by incorporating Anantpur and Kurnool districts in the proposed state.
Sources said Azad, who made the call after the Congress Core Group meeting on Friday evening, could not extract any assurance of support from the leader of the All India Majlis-e Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) who is known to have reservations on the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
Owaisi was said to have cautioned Azad against division of the state saying that it would strengthen the BJP in Telangana. He had given the same feedback recently to Digvijaya Singh, AICC general secretary in-charge of Andhra Pradesh.
Owaisi’s is not the only voice of opposition to bifurcation of the state as most Congress leaders from the state and the Centre who have been consulted by the party high command have reservations on any such move. In fact, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who had been called to Delhi for consultation on Friday, was learnt to have told the leadership that it would be “suicidal” to create a Telangana state. State leaders were learnt to have argued that while a decision in favour of Telangana may not bear any great electoral dividends in the region constituting 17 Lok Sabha seats, it may have “serious consequences” for the party on 25 Lok Sabha seats falling in Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra regions.
Maintaining that all consultations on Telangana are over and a final call would be taken by Sunday or Monday, sources said that while the Congress president has made up her mind on Telangana, feedback from party leaders is to the contrary.
The Home Ministry has cautioned the Congress leadership against the move saying that it could re-ignite passions and lead to calls for Gorkhaland and Bodoland. There are also concerns about the revival of Naxalism in Telangana region if it is carved out of Andhra Pradesh.
Except Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha and party MPs from Telangana regions, the proposal for statehood, sources said, has not found favour with most other leaders including A K Antony, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Digvijaya Singh, Kishore Chandra Deo, Kiran Kumar Reddy.
On Saturday, MPs and Union Ministers from Telanagana region including K S Rao, Chiranjeevi, M M Pallam Raju, and D Purandeswari met Prime Minister Manmohan