New Delhi: Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday said that a decision on the issue of separate statehood for Telangana would be taken within a month. Addressing the press following an all-party meeting on the issue, Shinde urged people to maintain calm over the matter. "I appeal the youth of Andhra Pradesh to maintain peace. The government will take a decision on this and whatever will happen will be good," he said.
Shinde added that the meeting was the last all-party meet over the issue and he will first brief the Cabinet and then the final decision would be taken. Refusing to disclose the stand of different parties, he said it was an in-camera meeting.
Following the meeting, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi said that it was against the decision and called for a bandh.
Eight parties attended the meet: The Congress, BJP, Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, YSR Congress, CPI, CPI (M) and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).
The Telugu people, not just those living in Andhra Pradesh, but all across the world, are awaiting a final and clear response from the Centre over the issue. Political parties, however, remain cynical about the outcome of the meeting.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi president K Chandrasekhar Rao said ahead of the meet, "We don't have much hopes from this meet. We are going because we want to again ask the government to form Telangana immediately. No all-party meet is required. The Congress is simply delaying the matter."
A few Telangana supporters even protested outside the North Block as the meeting was underway.
An earlier meeting of the eight "recognised" political parties from Andhra Pradesh on the Telangana issue, that was held on January 6, 2011, a week after the Justice Srikrishna Committee submitted its report to the Centre had remained inconclusive.
The Srikrishna Committee Report, which was prepared after a year-long exercise and wide-ranging consultations with "all stakeholders" at a cost of over Rs 40 crore in the year 2010, has been cold shouldered by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde himself, who said that the report would not be the basis for "consultations" at the all-party meet on Friday.
In fact, Shinde's announcement on December 4 convening the all-party meet had kindled hope that the Centre would try to find a solution to the vexatious issue that has been causing turmoil in Andhra Pradesh for the last three years.
However, Shinde himself took the sting out of the meeting by saying that the consultation process would continue "till we find a final solution".
With additional information from PTI