Telangana meet Thursday amid boycott by TRS, BJP

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

NEW DELHI - Amid boycott threats by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Home Minister P. Chidambaram will Thursday meet Andhra Pradesh politicians to discuss demands of separate statehood to the Telangana region.

Chidambaram will discuss with all stakeholders the contents of the Justice Srikrishna Committee report on the statehood issue which was submitted last week but has not been made public yet.

But the TRS and BJP have decided to boycott the meeting even as the minister made passionate appeals to them to resolve the vexed statehood issue that has whipped up emotions and violence in Andhra Pradesh.

The decision to hold the Thursday meet with eight recognised political parties of the state was taken after the 800-page report by the committee about the division of or keeping Andhra Pradesh united was submitted to the home ministry Dec 30.

The parties invited for the meeting include the Congress, BJP, TRS, Telegu Desam Party (TDP), Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

The TRS has objected to the meeting, demanding that the central government should introduce a bill in the budget session of parliament for a separate Telangana state, irrespective of the recommendations in the Srikrishna committee report. The BJP has said it would support such a bill.

Chidambaram, according to home ministry sources, has sent a second letter to the TRS asking its leaders to attend the meeting but the party has not responded.

The home minister, speaking to reporters Tuesday, expressed hope that the TRS will take part in the meeting.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy Wednesday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence to discuss the political situation in the state ahead of the crucial meeting.

The Srikrishna committee was set up in February to study, among other things, the situation in Andhra Pradesh following protests for a separate Telangana state and the counter-protests that paralysed the state.

The committee met over 100 groups including political parties, intellectuals, politicians and retired bureaucrats and visited all the 23 districts of the state.

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