New Delhi: The much debated issue of creation of separate state of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh seems to be a real possibility as top Congress leadership held elaborate discussions on the contentious issue. The Congress gave clear signals about moving close to formation of Telangana state on Friday night and said that the process of consultation is over and a decision should be awaited.

"The consultation process is over. Now await the decision of the party as well as UPA government," AICC in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh told reporters after the Core Group meeting, which was also attended by Union Ministers AK Antony, P Chidambaram, Sushilkumar Shinde and Ghulam Nabi Azad.

A call is likely to be taken after the conclusion of the local bodies elections in Andhra Pradesh on July 31 and the final decision will be left to be formalized by Congress' highest decision-making body - Working Committee, in the first week of August, highly-placed sources said.

The day was earlier marked by extensive consultations between senior Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Ghulam Nabi Azad, with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana and Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajnarsimha.

This was followed by the Congress Core Group meeting, which was chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other key cabinet ministers including Sushilkumar Shinde, P Chidambaram and AK Antony.

During Friday's consultations, N Kiran Kumar Reddy was said to have been opposed to the division of the state. The party and the UPA government have to take a decision whether to create Telangana with only 10 districts falling under the region or to also include Kurnool and Ananthapur districts from Rayalseema. If those two districts are added, then the new state could be named RayalaTelangana, a proposal, the people of Telangana region would stoutly oppose.

Sources said that the UPA government may also like to consult its allies before bringing a bill in the monsoon session of Parliament. Principal Opposition BJP is strongly backing the demand for creation of Telangana and the bill needs only a vote by simple majority for a passage in Parliament.

(Agencies)

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