Hyderabad: The ruling Congress is gearing up to appoint a Deputy Chief Minister from Telangana to tackle the renewed movement to carve a separate state out of Andhra Pradesh.
Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is believed to have discussed the issue with the Congress leadership during his visit to Delhi last Friday as the pro-Telangana forces including its own MPs are set to intensify the movement.
If the Congress party agrees to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, it will open a Pandora`s box with similar demands in other parts of the country and hence it wants to maintain the status quo, sources in the party said.
Minister for Major Industries J Geeta Reddy and Minister for Higher Education Damodar Rajanarasimha are the front runners for the post.
While naming Kiran Kumar as the chief minister November last year, the leadership had announced that there will be a deputy chief minister from Telangana.
The appointment is to honour agreement signed at the time of formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956 that Telangana should have a deputy chief minister if the chief minister is from the other region.
KV Ranga Reddy became the first deputy chief minister of Andhra Pradesh in 1960. JV Narasing Rao, BV Subba Reddy and C Jagnnadha Rao were the other former deputy chief ministers.
This practice was discontinued in 1970s. Telangana leaders say this violation was one of the key reasons for the demand for a separate state.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government is toying with the idea of statutorily empowered Telangana Regional Council for socio-economic development and political empowerment of the region as suggested by Srikrishna Committee.
However, political observers say the Congress may not be able to counter Telangana movement through the appointment of deputy chief minister as its own leaders from the region are actively participating in it.
A section of the party MPs have already threatened to quit if the leadership fail to give a clear cut commitment on formation of separate state after the results of assembly elections in five states.
MPs like Madhu Goud Yaskhi and G Vivek have vowed not to agree for anything less than a separate state.
The pro-Telangana parties under the banner of Joint Action Committee (JAC) may also mount pressure on Congress leaders not to accept the postof deputy chief minister in the larger interest of the movement.
The JAC comprises Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other groups while Telangana leaders of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) are also fighting for separate state.
The JAC, which had paused the movement in March in view of the examinations, plans to revive it this month on a larger scale.