Cong top brass meets again on Telengana

New Delhi: Amid a month-long general strike in Telangana region, Congress top brass, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi, deliberated this evening on ways and means to resolve the vexed separate statehood issue. The latest consultations among the Congress Core Group headed by Gandhi took place after central leaders had detailed deliberations with Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and Governor E S L Narasimhan as also a cross section of leaders from Telangana and other parts of Andhra Pradesh.

AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is incharge of party affairs in the state, was special invitee to the meeting attended among others by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony and political secretary to Congress President Ahmad Patel. There was no official word on what transpired at the hour-long meeting held amid reports that the leadership wanted to complete the consultation process within the Congress on the Telangana statehood issue.

Government leaders have refused to give any deadline for resolving the ticklish matter which has gained fresh urgency following the revival of the agitation. Last week, TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao had rejected the Prime Minister`s appeal for calling off the strike and threatened to intensify it if the Centre does not announce the formation of the state with a "clear-cut time frame". "The consultations (within the Congress) will end on Monday," Mukherjee told reporters after several rounds of discussions with party leaders from Andhra Pradesh. Asked when the issue would be resolved or a decision on it would be taken, he said he cannot give any "time frame"