Telangana movement gains momentum, Congress to hold further talks

The agitation for a separate state gained further momentum Friday with a shutdown called by Telangana groups across the region in Andhra Pradesh badly affecting life as the Congress core committee met in the national capital to discuss a report by state-in charge Ghulam Nabi Azad and decided to hold further talks on the issue.

A day-long shutdown called by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) as part of the ongoing general strike for a separate Telangana state hit normal life in Hyderabad Friday. The shutdown was peaceful and near total in most parts of Hyderabad and its twin city Secunderabad as shops, business establishment and educational institutions were closed.

The JAC has also called for indefinite industrial shutdown in four of the region’s nine districts from Oct 3 – Khammam, Warangal, Karimnagar and Adilabad.

The strike by government employees and workers of Singareni Collieries continued for the 18th day Friday while the strike by employees of the state-owned Road Transport Corporation (RTC) ensured the state buses remained off the road for the 12th day.

The strike by about 70,000 employees of Singareni Collieries has paralysed coal production in 50 mines spread over four districts. The strike has so far caused a loss of over Rs.300 crore and affected power generation in thermal power stations.

In New Delhi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi attended the party core committee meeting, held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s official residence and attended by senior ministers and leaders.

Since the issue of Telangana is a highly complicated one, the committee has suggested further discussions in the party, in the government and between the government and other parties, an informed source told IANS.

Friday’s meeting discussed the report on the situation in Andhra Pradesh prepared by Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is party in-charge of the state. However, the report was not categorical on a solution, sources added.

Azad had submitted the report to Gandhi earlier in the day. The report has been prepared after assessing the views of party leaders from various parts of the state.

Meanwhile, several MPs and leaders of the Congress have been camping in Delhi to persuade the leadership for an early decision. The situation in Telangana has been highly volatile in the past few days because of the resumed agitation for the statehood.

Several party leaders from Telangana region met Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Thursday to press for for statehood for Telangana.

Congress MP from Nizamabad Madhu Goud Yaskhi told IANS that there were indications the party leadership will take a decision in favour of a separate Telangana.

He said once a decision is taken by the Congress on demand for new state, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will take it up further.

He said other parties such as Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) seemed to be waiting for the stand of the Congress.

Another party leader, K. Keshava Rao, said that party leaders were keen to stay in the capital till a decision is taken on the demand for creation of new state.

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao and other leaders of the Telangana movement Friday left for New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urge him to take an early decision on formation of a separate state.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, told reporters that the 30-member delegation would call on the prime minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and other key leaders Saturday.

KCR, a member of parliament, alleged that the state government was trying to give a violent turn to the ongoing agitation. [IANS]

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