New Delhi / Hyderabad: In the hours before it's expected to sanction a new state of Telangana, the Congress's top leaders held several meetings to propitiate leaders who are opposed to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. (Track live updates | 10-point cheat-sheet)
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy is meeting the PM and party president Sonia Gandhi along with senior Congress leaders. He has reportedly been persuaded not to resign in protest against the Congress's decision.
Before seeing him, Mrs Gandhi and the PM met their allies who unanimously endorsed the decision to carve out a new state. Then, the Congress's top decision-making body, the Working Committee, will formally endorse the decision taken on Friday by Mrs Gandhi to grant statehood to Telangana. (Read:Two options, careful strategy and a historic decision)
"It wasn't an easy decision but now everyone has been heard and a decision has been taken," said senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who is assigned to managing Andhra Pradesh.
Telangana is one of the three regions of Andhra Pradesh. Protests demanding a "united Andhra" have been intensifying in the other two - Coastal Andhra and Rayalseema. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said today, "Law and order situation in Andhra Pradesh is absolutely fine." (Read)
The impetus for the big Telangana announcement comes from the fact that the national elections, in which the Congress will seek a third term in power, are just months away. Nearly half of the 42 parliamentary seats from Andhra Pradesh are housed in Telangana. So in making it a state, the Congress hopes to win big with voters.
The concerns of the non-Telangana regions are centered heavily on the future of Hyderabad and its muscular economy. The centre has reportedly decided to make the city a shared capital between the old and new states. (Read: the likely road-map for birth of a new state)