New Delhi: Revolt appears to be brewing in Congress with several party MPs from Telangana on Tuesday skipping a crucial meeting called by party floor leaders in Parliament on the FDI vote and a few of them even meeting TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao.
The meeting with Rao, who has openly announced that he would vote against the UPA government in Lok Sabha on the FDI issue, is seen as an embarrassment to the Congress and the government.
Adding to the suspense was intense speculation that a few Congress MPs from Telangana were contemplating to quit the party and join TRS, which has been spearheading the protest for a separate Telangana state in the recent times.
The day began with seven Telangana MPs boycotting the meeting called by Home Minister and Leader of Lok Sabha Sushilkumar Shinde and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and keeping the question of skipping the vote tomorrow open.
The meeting was attended only by two MPs each from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Two Union ministers Sarvey Satyanarayana and Balram Naik also attended, while S Jaipal Reddy could not make it.
"We boycotted the meeting. We did not want to go," Karimnagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar told PTI.
His colleague and Nizamabad MP Madhu Goud Yaskhi also spoke in a similar vein when he said they decided unanimously to boycott the meeting called by party leaders.
On their strategy during vote tomorrow, they said "tomorrow`s strategy will be decided tomorrow."
Though it appeared like a token protest against their party, events that unfolded in the evening projected that the MPs were serious in their threat of boycotting when they met Rao, the political face of the Telangana agitation.
Rao himself drove to the residences of one of the MPs G Vivekanand, son of senior Congress leader G Venkatasamy, and closeted with him and two other MPs for over an hour.
Though the reason cited was that Rao came to wish Vivekanand on his birthday, but the MP himself was candid when he said Telangana and other issues of interest were discussed.
The seven MPs -- Ponnam Prabhakar, G Vivekanad, Rajaiah, M Jagganath, Rajgopal Reddy and Gutta Sukhender Reddy -- have been openly protesting against the Congress and the UPA government on the non-decision over contentious Telangana statehood demand.
The meeting was called by Shinde and Nath to seek their assurances on their vote in favour of the government.
The Congress has also issued a three-line whip asking its MPs to be present in Parliament and vote in favour of the government.
If the Telangana MPs abstain from voting, they risk facing action from the party.