Now, Congress MLAs join Telangana fast

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 10:26

Hyderabad: A day after Congress MPs from Telangana went on an indefinite fast to demand immediate withdrawal of police cases against pro-Telangana students, party MLAs from the region too have joined in.

The development came even as MPs vowed to continue with the fast to press for their demands.

The political scenario in Andhra Pradesh is fast hotting up ahead of the submission of the Srikrishna Committee report on Telangana later this week.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy had already discussed the issue with his Cabinet colleagues and the government has expressed its readiness to withdraw 135 more cases.

In the wake of the demands made by Telangana political leaders cutting across party lines, the government had earlier agreed to withdraw about 600 of the about 1,200 cases.

Taking exception to Congress government not withdrawing the cases against the students registered during the pro-Telangana agitations in the last one year, 10 MPs from the region began the fast and rejected the government`s offer for a phased withdrawal of the cases.

"We will not call off our fast until all the cases against the students are withdrawn," senior Congress MP K Keshava Rao told Home Minister P Sabita Indra Reddy and other ministers who met the fasting MPs to request them to end fast.

Panchayat Raj Minister K Jana Reddy, a senior Congress leader from Telangana, said he and other ministers would convey the demand of the fasting MPs to the chief minister and try to find an amicable solution to the problem.

Pointing out that the students are not hardcore criminals, the MPs said the cases should be taken back in the interest of their future.

The MPs - Keshava Rao, Ponnam Prabhakar, Balram Naik, K Rajagopal Reddy, G Vivek, M Jagannatham, S Rajaiah, S Satyanarayana, Suresh Shetkar and G Sukhender Reddy - started the fast at Gun Park in front of the Assembly building.

Keshava Rao said the fast is not a protest against the Congress government in the state but an effort to bring moral pressure on the administration to withdraw the cases against the students.

"We are indulging in self-infliction in the Gandhian way to mount moral pressure on the government. This is not politics. We are doing this for our students."

Asked if the move has the blessings of party president Sonia Gandhi, Satyanarayana said "every good thing has her blessing".

The fasting MPs have written a letter to Gandhi explaining to her the need to undertake the fast.

The MPs also demanded the withdrawal of Central security forces deployed in Telangana in large number. They reiterated their readiness to quit their seats for the formation of a separate Telangana.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had announced last year that the police cases against the students would be withdrawn.

First Published: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 - 10:26

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