Key UPA ally the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has made a strong pitch for a separate Telangana state, saying a delay in the matter would not be helpful.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today and raised the issue with him, becoming the first UPA-constituent to openly come out in support of an early decision on Telangana.
"The question (to create a separate state) is that of timing.... We want Telangana as early as possible. A delay will not be helpful to us," Mr Pawar said after the meeting, adding that Congress is "generally pro-Telangana".
Mr Pawar also said he expects a meeting of the UPA to be held soon on the issue.
The Union Agriculture Minister said his party has been supportive of separate Telangana for long and had even held a rally with Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhar Rao few years back. The TRS has been at the forefront of the Telangana movement.
Mr Pawar, whose party is also a major partner in the Congress-led coalition in Maharashtra, said that NCP has no objection if Vidarbha region also becomes a separate state. "We will not come in the way," he said.
The remarks of the NCP chief came close on the heels of Congress saying it was not against formation of Telangana and the government was in the process of taking a decision.
"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 had said yesterday.
Congress MPs from Telangana have threatened that they will send their resignations to Speaker Meira Kumar if urgent steps are not taken for formation of a separate state.