PM, senior ministers discuss Telangana (Lead)

December 29th, 2010 - 9:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana New Delhi, Dec 29 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed the issue of a separate Telangana state with his senior ministers Wednesday ahead of the impending report of a panel that has examined the contentious demand that has created sharp political divisions in Andhra Pradesh. Official sources said the hour-long meeting, attended by Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Defence Minister A.K. Antony, had been called to discuss the “issue of smaller states”.

Moily is the Congress in-charge of Andhra Pradesh.

The meeting came two days before Friday deadline for the Srikrishna panel to present its report. Justice B.N. Srikrishna, a retired Supreme Court judge, has indicated the report could be presented earlier.

The Congress Wednesday said it will convey its stand on Telangana after the panel submits its report.

“The Congress is not against (creation of) smaller states. The government has appointed a committee that will give its report. Then the government and party will make their stand,” party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said here.

The central government Wednesday asked the electronic media to exercise restraint in its coverage of the committee’s report.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni Wednesday met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and suggested that a nodal spokesperson be appointed to make announcements about the contents of the report.

She told reporters that Chidambaram had agreed to the suggestion and that the spokesperson would function under the home ministry. “There will be a nodal spokesperson so that all channels get official information on the whole thing,” he said.

Soni appealed to the media to abide by the guidelines of the National Broadcasters Association (NBA) and not telecast speculative stories, which may lead to untoward incidents.

The meeting, attended by the cabinet secretary, secretary, information and broadcasting and chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh discussed the various issues related to the coverage of the panel’s report.

The Srikrishna committee was set up in February to study, among other things, the situation in Andhra Pradesh following protests for a separate Telangana state and the counter-protests that paralysed the state.

The committee met over 100 groups including political parties, intellectuals, politicians and retired bureaucrats and visited all the 23 districts of the state.

The Andhra government Tuesday withdrew all the criminal cases filed during protests for and against a separate Telangana state.

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