Telangana splits Cong, Sonia reassures pro-unity MPs

Last Updated: Friday, December 11, 2009 - 00:23

Zeenews Bureau

Hyderabad: Before the division of Andhra Pradesh comes a split in the Congress party. A day after Union Home Minister P Chidambaram announced his party’s agreement on the creation of Telangana, a spate of resignations from non-Telangana MLAs and MPs demanding a united Andhra Pradesh on Thursday put the Congress high command in a spot.

A total of 53 Andhra Congress MLAs and one MP resigned in protest of the decision to bifurcate the state.

Sonia Gandhi called a high-level party meeting at her 10, Janpath residence to discuss the day`s developments triggered by the Telangana issue. The meeting was attended by cabinet ministers Pranab Mukherjee, A.K. Antony, P. Chidambaram and M. Veerappa Moily, and Gandhi`s political secretary Ahmed Patel, sources told news agencies.

A total of 18 MPs from the Andhra and Rayalseema
regions of the state, including late Chief Minister Y S
Rajasekhara Reddy`s son Jagan Mohan and three Union Ministers
Panabaka Luxmi, D Purnadeswari and A Sai Prathap met Gandhi to
express their opposition to the bifurcation of the state.

According to the sources, the meeting reviewed the latest developments, including the resignation of some party MPs from Andhra Pradesh as well as legislators in the state. It was decided that Moily would meet these MPs and inform them of the high command`s views.

Earlier in the day, 21 Andhra Pradesh Congress members of parliament from the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha met Gandhi at her residence in the aftermath of the government nod to a separate Telangana state.

Gandhi assured the upset party MPs from Andhra Pradesh that "no injustice will be done" and views of all sections will be taken.

Not to be left behind on the statehood issue, politicians from Rayalaseema region Thursday demanded separate statehood for the backward region, saying they would agree to division of the state to create Telangana only if their demand for Greater Rayalaseema is acceded to.

She asked the MPs to not escalate the crisis and told them their interests will be protected. In the evening Union Law Minister Moily held a round of talks with the MPs from Andhra Pradesh where he was asked to keep the state united.

Emerging from the meet late at night, Minister of State for Defence said they had urged the Congress high command to not go ahead with the creation of Telangana. "Our hope is that Andhra remains united and we think
that the Centre was compelled to make the announcement (to
form Telangana). We have strongly expressed our views," he
told reporters.

"We are seeing how MLAs are resigning across party
lines. And similarly MPs from the Andhra region and Rayalseema
region have conveyed we wish that Andhra Pradesh is united.
So, now it is apparent there is no unanimity," he added. Another MP K Sambasiva Rao claimed that the Home
Minister`s statement was "misinterpreted"..

“There was pressure on the Centre and so a decision was made. But we are in favour of a united Andhra,” he said. A Sai Prathap, the Union ISPAT minister, said the party and the government could have different views and in the end a decision will be taken by consensus.

A similar view was expressed by AP Chief Minister MK Rosaiah who said no decision would be taken in haste and consensus will be sought on the issue. Briefing newsmen after an emergency meeting of the
State cabinet late tonight, chaired by K
Rosaiah, Information Minister J Geeta Reddy said they would
abide the decision of the Congress high command on the
Telangana resolution.

However, no date has been fixed for tabling the
resolution in the house, she said.

Resignation politics

The MPs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema--two from
Congress and one TDP--joined 105 MLAs belonging to Congress,
TDP and Praja Rajyam in protesting against the "unilateral"
decision to confer statehood on Telangana region in the wake
of TRS leader K Chandrasekhar Rao`s `fast unto death`
protest, which he has called off now.

Of the 105, Congress MLAs accounted for 52, TDP 42 and
PRP 11. Actually only 29 TDP MLAs have sent their letters
while the party list contains the names of others who have
offered.

In addition, 34 Congress members of the Legislative
Council and 120 TDP MLCs have also resigned.
TDP, whose leader N Chandrababu Naidu had expressed
support for Telangana a few days ago, today made a u-turn and
expressed total opposition to the bifurcation and Hyderabad
going away to Telangana.

However, Praja Rajyam leader Chiranjeevi appealed to
his party MLAs to withdraw their resignations. He felt
legislators were facing "pressure" over the Centre`s decision.

The Congress has 158 out of the 294 seats in the Assembly with just 10 seats majority.

State Congress chief D Srinivas, said, “I am trying my level best to persuade the party members to not to resign. The party leaders should respect the High Command’s decisions and follow them.”

Meanwhile, Home Minister P Chidambaram has invited TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao to the capital to discuss the next step for formation of a separate Telangana state.

"I have invited Rao to Delhi to discuss the next step", the Home Minister told the Rajya Sabha.

He said, Rao had spoken to him this morning and thanked all sections of the House for resolving the issue.

"I am happy to inform the House that by and large normalcy has been restored in Hyderabad," Chidambaram said.

Earlier, M Venkaiah Naidu took exception to Chidambaram announcing the Telangana decision outside Parliament though the BJP has welcomed carving out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.

Naidu said the government was taking Parliament lightly by announcing policy decisions outside and it was not only the question of privilege, but propriety of the House.

However, Chidambaram in his reply stated that he could not have waited to make the announcement on Telangana, as the government could "brook no delay" against the backdrop of the situation in the state.

In any case, he said what was announced late last night was a "re-statement" of the earlier decision of the government.



First Published: Friday, December 11, 2009 - 00:23

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