No sign of change in TDP’s stand on Telangana

June 18th, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, June 18 (IANS) The much-awaited first meeting of Andhra Pradesh’s main opposition Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) core committee on Telangana was held Wednesday but there was no indication of any change in the party’s stand against a separate state. The five-member core committee, formed in April to look into the issue of separate statehood to Telangana region, met at Devulapally village in Vizianagaram district in north coastal Andhra Pradesh.

TDP president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu presided over the meeting, which was held in the backdrop of bickering in the party over the Telangana issue.

The venue of the meeting was shifted from Hyderabad in the last minute to avoid media attention. It was also seen as a snub to pro-Telangana leaders. However, party leaders said this was necessitated by Naidu’s state-wide yatra, which is currently in Vizianagaram district.

After the three-hour meeting, Naidu told reporters that the committee would meet again. Pointing out that a decision on such a sensitive issue cannot be taken in one meeting, he said the second meet would be held in the first or second week of July.

Naidu said the first meeting discussed the stand of other parties on the issue and there was free exchange of views.

The TDP chief, who opposed bifurcation of the state while in power from 1995 to 2004, reiterated that he was not against a separate Telangana but said the party would take a decision at an appropriate time after a thorough debate. He advised party leaders not to be in a hurry on the issue.

All five members of the committee attended the meet. They are former ministers T. Devender Goud, K. Srihari, N. Janardhan Reddy (all from Telangana), deputy leader in the assembly Y. Ramakrishnudu and parliamentary party leader K. Yerranaidu (both from Andhra region).

The meeting assumed significance in view of recent utterances by Goud and his supporters asking the party to take a clear stand on the issue in view of next year’s elections. They, however, had to face criticism from Naidu loyalists opposing a separate Telangana state.

Srihari agrees with Goud but Janardhan Reddy has not taken a clear stand. Both Ramakrishnudu and Yerranaidu are against bifurcation.

The demand for separate statehood to Telangana, comprising 10 districts including Hyderabad, is five decades old.

Ever since TDP lost power in 2004, a section of leaders from the region are mounting pressure on the leadership to reconsider its stand on the issue.

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