Cong leaders from AP meet Pranab on Telangana issue

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 05, 2011 11:41 hrs

New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday told Congress leaders from Andhra Pradesh that a meeting on Thursday on Telangana was just to hand over Justice Srikrishna committee report to political parties and that they will get some time to give their opinion on the emotive issue.

A day before the meeting convened by Home Minister P Chidambaram, regional differences in the ruling party persisted with MP K Sambasiva Rao and MLA Uttam Kumar Reddy, who hail from coastal Andhra and Telangana regions respectively, meeting Mukherjee separately.

The two had represented the party during the previous meeting convened by the Centre on the statehood issue last year.

After the meeting, the two leaders told reporters separately that Mukherjee told them that Thursday's meeting has been convened only to hand over the 600-page report to political parties.

"Pranab Mukherjee told us that we would be given some time to go into the report. He asked us to use the time to discuss the report with colleagues and formulate a response," Uttam Kumar Reddy said.

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Law Minister and party in-charge of Andhra Pradesh M Veerappa Moily was also present during the meetings.

"He briefed us about the agenda for Thursday's meeting," Reddy said, adding that Mukherjee told him that there would be another meeting of political parties in two or three weeks to discuss the report.

During their brief interaction with reporters, Rao and Reddy stuck to their known stand on Telangana statehood issue, which has virtually divided the Congress on regional lines.

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While Reddy said he hoped that Telangana would be formed, Rao was of the opinion that it is not easy to divide a state.

"I hope that Telangana with Hyderabad as capital will be one of the options given by the Srikrishna Committee," Reddy said.

But Rao said, "It is not easy to divide Andhra Pradesh and I am a staunch believer of united Andhra Pradesh."

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