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Posted on Jan 31, 10:54PM | IBNS
New Delhi, Jan 31 : The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a key ally of the Congress-led ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition, has come out in strong support for the statehood call of the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and raised the issue with him, becoming the first UPA-constituent to openly come out in support of the contentious call, reports said.
"The question (to create a separate state) is that of timing.... We want Telangana as early as possible. A delay will not be helpful to us," Pawar was quoted as saying following the meeting.
Adding that the Congress was "generally pro-Telangana", Pawar said he expected a meeting of the UPA to be held soon on the issue.
The Central government on Sunday deferred a decision on whether the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh should be carved into a separate state, prompting sharp criticism of the ruling Congress party by Opposition and activists.
Protests have long rocked Andhra Pradesh for a separate Telangana state exerting pressure on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre to expedite the bifurcation of the state, carving out the Telangana region with AP's current capital Hyderabad as its main city.
The Telangana region, which merged with Andhra Pradesh in 1956 against the wishes of many locals, comprises of 10 districts - Adilabad, Hyderabad, Khammam, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, and Warangal.
As the movement to divide the state gained momentum, politicians from coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema regions want the state of 85 million people to remain unified, and especially oppose tearing out the IT-hub city Hyderabad that would affect the state's economy.