New Delhi: Hitting out at leaders in Andhra Pradesh who have quit the party to join TRS, Congress on Sunday alleged that they have defected for personal gains and to ensure tickets for their kin in the coming elections and not for the Telangana cause.
"Unfortunately, the people who are joining today, they are joining as an individual in the capacity to make politics as a business, trade," AICC General Secretary and in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
Congress leader and former PCC chief K Keshava Rao and two MPs G Vivekananda and Manda Jagannatham quit last week to join TRS that is spearheading movement for Telangana statehood.
Unfazed by the action of the three leaders to quit the party, Azad said "The way they have struck business with the leadership of TRS, that those who are resigning whether they are ex-MPs or MPs, they will get MP tickets, their children will get MLA tickets."
Azad said they have not resigned for the sake of Telangana but for their own benefit.
"I do not think they deserve to be a politician. This is just like a business... Like a trade. So it is a good riddance. We would like the people who believe in Congress party`s policy, who have some conviction or devoted to the people," he told a news channel.
"I do not think they are devoted to the people. I could have imagined if they would have resigned just for Telangana. But they have not resigned for Telangana. They have just bargained how many seats they are going to get for themselves and for their relatives (in elections)," he said.
With the issue returning to haunt the party, a meeting of Congress Core Group yesterday took a view of the political situation in Andhra Pradesh. Azad had attended the meeting.
Congress is yet to clear its position on the vexed issue of Telangana. The separate statehood issue in Andhra Pradesh has been troubling the party for long. The Congress-ruled state is divided on regional lines on the Telangana demand.
Andhra Pradesh is one of the few major states where the party is in power on its own and a good showing is crucial for it in the general elections due next year.