Amid mounting pressure, Congress on Wednesday said it was not against formation of Telangana, signalling that a decision on the vexed issue of a separate state has been put on the fast-track.
Congress is not against the formation of Telangana state. We are in the process of taking a decision but then formalities have to be completed, party spokesperson P C Chacko told reporters in New Delhi.
His remarks came as Congress MPs from Telangana awaited an appointment with party chief Sonia Gandhi for submitting their resignation to press for an early creation of a separate state. Chacko's initial response was that the party's position on Telangana is well known and that it's only a question of time when the decision will be announced.
Asked specifically whether he meant to say a separate state of Telangana will be announced and it is just a matter of time now, the Congress spokesperson responded by saying, you are right. We have taken a position. Our party position is very clear..But whatever decision has to be taken has to fulfill some constitutional obligations. As reporters flooded Chacko with queries on whether his remarks meant he was saying that Congress supports a separate state, Chacko hastened to clarify that his only submission was that the party was not against Telangana. At the same time, he insisted that some formalities have to be completed on the Telangana issue.
A senior Congress leader, who declined to be identified, said that it was not a yes or no matter and that there are many related issues like deciding the location of Hyderabad and obtaining an Andhra Pradesh Assembly resolution.
Chacko's remarks are significant as they have come at a time when the Budget Session of Parliament was less than a month away and the party needs to keep its flock together in the last year of UPA II.
Andhra Pradesh is the only major state, where Congress is in power on its own. But the Telangana issue as also the emergence of YSR Congress Party has dented the party's fortunes considerably prompting the high command to take some damage control measures. "We have been very clear about that. It is known to all. We are working on how to implement that scheme of things in consultations with all. Our stand is what the Home Minister said and we are going to implement that. We have to take a reasonable stand.... We need some more time. We are not closed. We are open-minded," Chacko said in response to a volley of questions.
He dismissed the contention that the government was dill-dallying on the issue saying that consultations are on at both the party and the government level for resolution of the issue at a war footing. We are confident of finding a very amicable solution soon. Government has not wasted a single day. Consultations are going on at a war footing, he said.