New Delhi: A decision on the contentious Telangana statehood demand will be delayed further with the Government and the Congress on Sunday stating that a "little more time" is needed to arrive at a final decision on the issue.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Congress incharge of Andhra Pradesh's political affairs, said that the UPA Government needs more time to decide on the issue of separate statehood.
He further added that, "There is no deadline. We will hold consultations with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and others as early as possible."
Sources say Congress is divided on the issue, Azad and few others feel that giving into Telangana would trigger similar demands elsewhere.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who had in December set a one-month deadline for a decision, said on Sunday that the consultation process is underway. Shinde had on December 28, 2012 said the Centre would announce a decision on the contentious issue in a month. However, Azad on January 23 indicated that the decision may be delayed.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi has been holding hectic consultations with her senior colleagues like Azad, Shinde, Vayalar Ravi and Ahmed Patel for the past few days.
The Core Committee of the Congress had met on Saturday and discussed the issue, but no decision was taken. The meeting of the Congress Core Group deliberated exclusively on the vexed issue at a time when Andhra Pradesh is divided on regional lines on the issue.
The party high command has been grappling with the issue as there has been no unanimity among the top leaders.
Expressing his disappointment on the decision, Congress MP from Nizamabad constituency of Andhra Pradesh said, "It's disappointing for us. It's pressure from some MPs who are working for the YSR party. They are masterminding and putting pressure on high command. It's difficult for UPA government to get away with it. Demand for Telangana not same as demand for other states. Unfair on the part of central government to think it will rake such demands as both BJP and Congress have committed themselves. Hopeful Sonia Gandhi will be taking the right decision soon. Hopeful she will prevail from the UPA government to take the decision.
Earlier in the day, Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader KT Rama Rao courted arrest amidst attempts to participate in the 'Samara Deeksha' protest organised by the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) at Indira Park. Following his arrest, the TJAC said it will continue the hunger strike.
With the Congress once again looking indecisive on the Telangana issue, the long-drawn suspense of 'will be or will not be' continues.
With Additional Inputs From PTI