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Demand for Telangana to be considered at `appropriate time'

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, MAY 27. The Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has promised to consider the demand for the formation of a Telangana state at an appropriate time after due consultations and consensus.

The reference to a separate Telangana state in the CMP prompted the Union Minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader, K. Chandra Shekhar Rao, to claim that the Alliance Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, has instructed senior Congress leaders to work out a time-table for resolving the issue.

"I have been informed that Sonia Gandhi has instructed Jairam Ramesh and Ahmed Patel to prepare a time-table on this issue,'' he told reporters here today.

Mr. Rao said that he would meet the Congress leaders to work out a time- table. "We will talk to the Home Ministry," he said and thanked the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and Ms. Gandhi on behalf of the 3.5-crore people of Telangana.

As for concerns in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast, the CMP said the `healing touch' policy pursued by the Jammu and Kashmir Government would be fully supported and an economic and humanitarian thrust would be provided to it.

"The UPA Government is pledged to respecting the letter and spirit of Article 370 of the Constitution that accords a special status to J&K. Dialogue with all groups and with different shades of opinion in J&K will be pursued on a sustained basis, in consultation with the democratically-elected State Government,'' the CMP said.

It said the UPA Government was determined to tackle terrorism, militancy and insurgency in the Northeast as a matter of urgent national priority. All the North-eastern States will be given special assistance to upgrade and expand infrastructure. The North-Eastern Council will be strengthened and given adequate professional support. The territorial integrity of existing States will be maintained, the CMP said.

On the vital issue of Centre-State relations, the UPA Government felt that the Sarkaria Commission had last looked at the issue of the Centre-State relations over two decades ago. "The UPA Government will set up a new Commission for this purpose keeping in view the sea-changes that have taken place in the polity and economy of India since then," the CMP said.

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