Panel to cool Seemandhra

Hyderabad: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday appointed a four-member high-level party committee to address the concerns of the Seemandhra region in the wake of the decision to spin off a new state of Telangana.
Union defence minister A.K. Antony will head the committee whose members are Sonia Gandhi’s political adviser Ahmed Patel, and senior leaders Digvijay Singh, and M. Veerappa Moily, a former AP affairs in-charge.
Party spokesperson P.C. Chacko made it clear that there is no going back on the decision of bifurcation of AP and that the Antony Committee would only be addressing the problems of the Seemandhra region.
Though there’s no word on whether the Constitutional process concerning the formation of Telangana state will continue, or will be put on hold till the panel completes its work, sources said the much-awaited Cabinet note announced by finance minister P. Chidambaram a couple of days ago, is not ready and is not likely to come before the Union Cabinet on Thursday.
Panel upsets Telugu Desam
The working plan of the Antony Committee, including whether it will visit the state to receive representations, or whether Congress leaders will visit Delhi, are not clear. Similarly, there is no word from the Congress on how long the committee will function.
The Telugu Desam is unhappy with the constitution of the committee because it is made up only of Congress leaders.
In a related development, during the Lok Sabha sitting on Wednesday, Telangana Congress MPs led by Ponnam Prabhakar rushed up to the Congress president and complained about a reported statement made by Union minister M.M. Pallam Raju that the whole process on Telangana formation has been temporarily halted with the appointment of the Antony Committee.
Raju went up to Sonia Gandhi and denied making any such statement. Prabhakar then showed her newspaper reports containing Raju’s statement. After perusing the reports, Sonia Gandhi asked Raju how he drew such an inference. Raju said he never made the statement.
In both Houses, TD and Congress members from Seemandhra continued to disrupt proceedings. Congress members raised slogans against the bifurcation, but from their seats as long as Sonia Gandhi was in the House. The moment she left, they came to the podium to force an adjournment.
TD members for the first time embarrassed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and SOnia Gandhi by standing in front of them, displaying placards and raising slogans opposing the bifurcation.

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