Hyderabad: Sonia Gandhi on Thursday met her party MPs from Andhra Pradesh after over 30 MLAs resigned to protest the formation of Telangana and assured them everybody’s interests will be taken into consideration.
Caught unawares by the deep-rooted resentment and open revolt shown by its MPs and MLAs from Andhra against the creation of Telangana, Gandhi called on the representatives to maintain discipline.
The emergency meeting – convened at 10 Janpath – was necessitated after as many as 32 MLAs from the Congress and one MP resigned from their posts to protest against, what they call as “unilateral decision” of the High Command.
She asked the MPs to not escalate the crisis and told them their interests will be protected.
Although, it’s not yet clear how many MPs are attending the meeting, given the open dissension being shown by party MPs against the High Command. Vijaywada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal was the first to resign. He met Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and handed over his resignation. He has since, as per reports, left for Hyderabad to fight for unified Andhra. There are indications that five more Congress MPs have resigned/expressed willingness.
Besides the Congress, MLAs of TDP and Praja Rajyam Party also submitted their resignations to the Assembly Speaker today when the House convened - after yesterday night’s decision by the Centre to set the ball rolling for carving out Telangana.
As expected, all the MLAs, who submitted their resignation to Assembly Speaker Kiran Kumar Reddy, belong to Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of the state. However, there was no word from the Speaker`s office about acceptance of their resignations.
Thirty-two of the MLAs who have resigned are from Congress, 17 from the Telugu Desam Party and nine from the Praja Rajyam Party.
In Hyderabad, leading the revolt in the Congress – against the High Command - are MLAs JC Diwakar Reddy, DL Ravindra, P Venkatramaya and Jogi Ramesh.
"This decision is very painful for us. Lakhs of people from other regions of the state have come to Hyderabad in search of livelihood. What would be their fate if the state is split," P Venkatramaya, a Congress legislator from Krishna district, said in the Assembly.
Congress sources said many more MLAs from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema have said they would resign ahead of the proposed resolution in the Assembly seeking creation of Telangana state.
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.”
Leading the attack from the Opposition side was Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu, who blamed the Centre and the Congress for pushing the state into doldrums.
“State has been pushed into a very bad political phase,” Naidu said.
He also squarely held Congress chief Sonia responsible for the crisis and accused her of unilaterally deciding on such a crucial issue; without taking anyone into confidence.
Chidambaram invites KCR to Delhi
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.