Seemandhra, Telangana leaders intensify lobbying in Delhi

New Delhi/Hyderabad, Jan 22 (IANS) With the Jan 28 deadline for a decision on the Telangana issue nearing, Congress leaders from Telangana and Seemandhra intensified their lobbying in the national capital respectively for and against division of Andhra Pradesh.

Leaders from Seemandhra (as Rayalaseema and Andhra regions are called) Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to impress upon him the need to keep the state united for its all-round development

The delegation, including ministers and MPs, submitted a memorandum opposing separate statehood to Telangana. They pointed out that there is backwardness in all the regions and said they have no objection if the central government extends a Gorkhaland-like package for Telangana.

Seemandhra leaders led by state minister S. Shailajanath demanded that the central government implement sixth option suggested by Srikrishna committee.

Under this option, the panel had suggested to the government to keep the state united and provide statutory measures to address the core socio-economic concerns about development of Telangana.

Seemandhra leaders also called on Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is incharge of party affairs in the state. Azad reportedly voiced his unhappiness over the leaders making a beeline to Delhi, and told them to leave the issue to the party leadership and strengthen the organization for its victory in 2014 elections.

The leaders had Monday met Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who had declared after the Dec 28 all-party meeting on Telangana that the central government would announce its decision in a month.

Seemandhra leaders would be calling on President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday evening.

Telangana leaders, who also rushed to Delhi Tuesday, met Shinde and urged him to take a decision in favour of separate state by Jan 28. They demanded that the central government stand by its Dec 9, 2009 announcement to initiate the process for formation of Telangana state.

The Telangana delegation, including ministers, MPs and state legislators, told Shinde that four crore people of the region want their state with Hyderabad as its capital.

Minister D.K. Aruna said they made it clear that no alternative to a separate state would be acceptable to the people of Telangana.

Telangana leaders later held a meeting at the residence of central minister S. Jaipal Reddy to chalk out their future course of action.