Hyderabad: In a setback to ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh, senior party leader and former MP K Keshava Rao and two sitting parliamentarians Thursday decided to join TRS which is spearheading the movement for separate Telangana statehood.
"They (the three leaders) had lost hope in the Congress that it would grant a separate Telangana state. They would formally join the party on June 2," K T Rama Rao, son of Telangana Rashtra Samiti president K Chandrasekhar Rao told reporters.
The three--Keshava Rao, G Vivekananda and Manda Jagannatham, who were in the forefront of a campaign within the Congress for creation of Telangana, had set the deadline for Congress to concede the demand by this evening.
These leaders, who had a three-hour meeting with Chandrasekhar Rao this afternoon, were in touch with the TRS chief for the last several months.
Another MP S Rajaiah, who had also joined forces with them, however, backed out this morning after he reportedly failed to get an assurance from TRS that he would get to contest the Warangal Lok Sabha seat again in the next election.
Earlier in the day, MLA K Lakshma Reddy, a confidant of Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, met Vivekananda at the latter`s residence to dissuade him from quitting Congress. However, sources close to Vivekananda said, he told the Chief Minister`s emissary that he had no hope that Congress would carve out a separate state and hence would not stay in the party.
Keshava Rao also had a meeting with state Panchayat Raj Minister K Jana Reddy where they reportedly discussed the move to join TRS.