Can't give a timeframe to Centre on Telangana: Kiran Reddy

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Telangana protagonists' decision to ratchet up pressure notwithstanding, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday said it is difficult to set a 'timeline or timeframe' for the Centre to decide on the contentious statehood demand since there is no unanimity.

He also made a passionate plea to the Telangana Joint Committee and other organisations to 'postpone' their planned ‘Telangana March’ in Hyderabad on Sunday to save the 'prestige' of the state and the city which would be hosting an international event from Monday.

"No unanimity among Congress members from Andhra Pradesh and lack of two-thirds majority for the party at the Centre are some of the reasons which is making it difficult to arrive at a solution," he said.

"They (Centre) will take their time. We cannot set a timeline or timeframe to decide on such a situation...they will have to consult all sections within the party. Unanimity within the party on such an issue is very important," he told PTI in an interview here.

Kiran Reddy, who took some time off from his 3-day tour of Krishna district, spoke about the Telangana issue and how the Congress had made its stand clear during 1969 and 1971 when the issue of separate Telangana and united Andhra Pradesh had erupted then during the interview.

He suggested this is the first time that there is large-scale opposition to bifurcation of a state and said bringing about unanimity before taking a decision is vital. "They (Centre) are talking to everyone. We don’t have an outright two-thirds majority (in Parliament). So, it is necessary to bring unanimity which they are trying to get through negotiations," the Chief Minister said.

His comments come at a time where there is a raging speculation that the Congress would take a final call soon on the Telangana issue, which has almost divided the party in the state on regional lines.

On the Sunday march, Kiran Reddy made it clear his government was not against the march, but was only asking the organisers to postpone it in view of immersion of Ganesh idols on Saturday and the beginning of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity on Monday.

"We are appealing to them to postpone the march. We are not against the march. Unfortunately, there have been instances of violence erupting on some occasions during earlier protest. So, we are asking them to postpone the march," he said.

Asked whether law will take its course if the protest takes place, he said, "I am a positive person. I am optimistic that they will postpone in the interest of the city of Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh. It is the prestige of the city, state and country which is involved in this".

The Telangana March, the organisers say, is to protest against the Centre's inaction on the Telangana issue and to force it to come out with an early resolution.

Congress has been dithering on the Telangana issue since 2009 when the Centre announced it would initiate steps for the formation of a separate state but did a U-turn within a fortnight citing "changed situation" in other parts of Andhra Pradesh.

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