Congress ministers seek BJP help to keep Andhra Pradesh united

The principal opposition party’s stand over the Telangana issue crystallised after five union ministers from Seemandhra region met BJP leader LK Advani on Monday and sought the party’s support in opposing the bill.

Sources said in a less than half an hour long meeting, all the union ministers urged the BJP to raise their voice for an ‘adequate financial package’ for Seemandhra region. Initially, they requested him (Advani) to oppose the bill but later they left his residence with a plea that his party should stick to their ‘conditional support’ over the bill if not oppose it outright.

Party insiders said Advani, after giving a patient hearing, briefed leaders of the opposition Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley on the concern raised by the union ministers. The meeting of union ministers is being considered as creating an additional pressure on the government to prevent it from going ahead with the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. The significant meeting came after it was learnt that the bill to create Telangana will be taken up for discussion in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the BJP has conveyed to home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde that the government should not try to pass the Telangana bill amid chaos. ‘Crucial bills need proper debate,’ BJP leaders said in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The union ministers had sought an appointment with Advani in the morning and he agreed to meet them at his residence. Textile minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, HRD minister MM Pallam Raju, minister of state for HRD Daggubati Purandeswar and BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu were present.
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