New Delhi, Dec 6: Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has called an all-party meeting here on Dec 28 to discuss the important Telangana statehood issue.
The move is particularly aimed at pacifying the seven Congress MPs from the region who have expressed their displeasure with the government's indecision on Telangana and had also threatened to boycott the foreign direct investment (FDI) vote in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday as a mark of protest.
The promise to hold the all-party meeting paid off as the disgruntled MPs, Ponnam Prabhakar, G Vivekanand, Madhu Yaskhi Goud, S Rajaiah, M Jagannath, Rajagopal Reddy and G Sukhender Reddy voted with the Congress in the Lok Sabha. The MPs, who were encouraged by the government's decision, said that each party should be represented by only one leader who would present a united and final view.
It is the second time in two years that the government agreed to convene an all-party meeting. In Jan 2011, P Chidambaram, the then Union Home Minister, had met representatives of eight parties from Andhra Pradesh.
The seven MPs from Telangana had created some anxious moments for the Congress leadership over the last few days. Senior Congress ministers like Shinde and Kamal Nath had been working hard to placate the annoyed MPs, particularly ahead of the crucial FDI vote. The MPs had initially refused to accept Shinde and Nath's advice and then did not turn up for the party's floor coordination meeting. Some of them also met Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, adding to Congress's anxiety.
The Congress has been already facing a serious challenge from the YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh and it will not want another rebellion breaking out on the question of Telangana.
The MPs had asked the government to make a commitment on all-party meeting before the FDI vote. In the last all-party meeting, the government had asked parties to appoint two representatives each to speak in favour of a separate Telangana state. This time, the MPs have stuck to the demand of deputing only one leader.