Seemandhra leaders urge PM not to divide Andhra Pradesh

Indo Asian News Service

New Delhi/Hyderabad, July 27 (IANS) Congress party leaders from Rayalaseema and Andhra regions Saturday called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, appealing him not to divide Andhra Pradesh.

Alarmed over indications that the Congress core group at its meeting Friday in principle decided to carve out separate Telangana state, a delegation of leaders met the prime minister, urging him to keep the state united.

The delegation included union minister K. Sambasiva Rao, Pallam Raju, K. Chiranjeevi, D. Purandeswari and some MPs from Seemandhra, as the two regions are usually referred to.

Earlier, Andhra Pradesh ministers from Seemandhra, who are still camping in the national capital, met at the residence of Sambasiva Rao to chalk out their strategy to prevent the state's division.

S. Sailajanath, who is heading the group of state ministers, told reporters that they requested Sambasiva Rao to convey their views for united Andhra Pradesh to the central leadership.

"The centre has not yet taken any decision. There is no need to panic over the media reports. We will resign if the state is divided," said Sailajanath.

"We are ready for any sacrifice including resignations for a united state," said another state minister G. Srinivasa Rao.

As many as 15 ministers reportedly conveyed to the Congress leadership Friday that they would have no option but to quit, if it goes ahead with formation of Telangana state.

After the core group meeting Friday evening, party general secretary Digvijaya Singh had asked media to wait for a decision by the party and the UPA government.

Congress Working Committee (CWC) is likely to meet next week to take a final decision on the issue. Party sources said the core group has taken a decision to divide the state but was still working out finer details including future of Hyderabad.

The core group met after Digvijaya Singh and union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who earlier held charge of party affairs in the state, had separate meetings with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, his deputy Damodar Rajanarasimha and state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana.