Mr Shinde said after the meeting that in finding a solution, the concerns of both the pro-Telangana side and of those who did not want Andhra Pradesh divided, would be considered. He appealed to the youth of Andhra Pradesh for calm, saying: "A decision will be taken within a month... we have heard the members of various parties... we have noted their views and will brief the government about it." People of the Telangana region have for long been demanding that it be carved out of Andhra Pradesh into a separate state. Those in other regions oppose any move to split the state.
K Chandrasekhar Rao or KCR said it was "a thoroughly useless meeting...I am dissatisfied. Do we really require one month's time? We don't believe them. We will take a decision about the future process. I announce a Telangana bandh tomorrow."
At the meeting, the Congress's two representatives spoke in different voices. Suresh Reddy supported a separate Telangana and Gadde Venkat Reddy spoke for a united Andra Pradesh, underlining the ruling party's dilemma. All the regional parties want the Congress to take a decision on the issue. The Congress has so far not done so as it has adamant partymen on both sides of the argument digging in their heels.
Eight of Andhra Pradesh's leading parties attended today's meeting - the Congress, the BJP, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the TRS, the TDP, the CPI, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen and the YSR Congress.
Each party was asked to send two representatives to the meeting. For parties like the TRS, CPI and BJP, which want a separate Telangana, this posed no problem. But for parties that have political stake in coastal Andhra Pradesh and no clear mandate on the issue, like the Congress and YSR Congress, it would have proved a tough task picking those representatives.
Parties like the CPIM and AIMIM are opposed to the division of the state. TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu has already hinted that his party will reiterate its stand taken in 2008, when it said it was not against the demand for a Telangana state. The Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress has said it will spell out its stand on the issue only after the Congress makes its stand clear.
The TRS had fronted the campaign for a new state in 2009, with its leader KCR going on a lengthy hunger strike that gave new momentum to the Telangana movement. The Centre then constituted a committee in 2010 under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna to find an amicable solution. The committee submitted its report a year later but placed before the Centre several options rather than recommendations on how to handle the three parts of the state: Coastal Andhra, Telangana and Rayalaseema.
Mr Shinde had said that report would not be the basis for "consultations" at the all-party meet today.
Mr Shinde's announcement on December 4 convening the all-party meet today had kindled hope that the Centre would try to find a solution to an issue that has caused much turmoil in Andhra Pradesh for the last three years. However, the Home Minister had made clear that the consultation process would continue "till we find a final solution".
About 50 people who had gathered outside the North Block in Delhi raising slogans in support of a separate Telangana state were removed by policemen. The area has been under heavy security cover after protests against the brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi turned violent last weekend.
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