Anti-Telangana leaders are scheduled to meet newly-appointed Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday amid reports that the Congress has sought more time over the government's Jan 28 deadline to take a call on the separate statehood demand for the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh.
"Anti-Telangana leaders will meet Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday evening," CNN-IBN reported.
Pertinently, Gandhi on Wednesday offcially took charge as the Congress Vice President.
Speaking to reporters after a fresh round of consultations amongst Congress President Sonia Gandhi and senior party leaders on the issue, Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday hinted that the decision could come later than Jan 28.
"I don´t think one month...When one says tomorrow, it does not mean tomorrow morning. When one says one week, sometimes it is two weeks," Azad said, when asked about the deadline.
Amid chances of protests flaring back again over the sensitive subject, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had said on Dec 28 that the Centre would take the decision on the issue within a month.
While last year the protests over Telangana were rather less in fury, 2011 saw widespread protests for a separate state that put pressure on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre for bifurcation of the state, with pro-Telangana groups demanding a state carving out the Telangana region with Andhra Pradesh´s current capital Hyderabad as its main city.
The Telangana region, which merged with Andhra Pradesh in 1956 against the wishes of many locals, comprises of 10 districts - Adilabad, Hyderabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, and Warangal.
As the movement to divide the state gained momentum, politicians from coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema regions want the state of 85 million people to remain unified, and especially oppose tearing out the IT-hub city Hyderabad that would affect the state's economy.
The BJP, the TRS and the CPI have announced their support for a separate Telangana state, but the CPI-M has been opposing the creation of small states. The Congress, the TDP and YSR Congress have not made their stand clear on the issue.