Cong lawmakers from Telangana to resign en masse

Hyderabad: The ruling Congress MPs, legislators and state ministers from Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh on Friday said they would resign en masse on July 4 in support of their demand for a separate state.

"The people of Telangana are expecting us to quit our posts for achieving separate statehood. Due to the delay in the formation of Telangana, there is an impression that we are not quitting our posts out of lust for power," Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Minister K Jana Reddy said.

"Now we are in a situation that we have to prove that we are not hankering for power. Hence we decided to submit our resignations on July 4," he said after a meeting of the leaders from the region attended by seven MPs, 18 MLAs, nine MLCs and nine ministers.

Reddy made it clear that they'll remain in Congress and work for achieving Telangana and strengthening the party.

The decision to resign "has been taken keeping people's aspirations in mind and it is hoped that the party leadership would understand our predicament," he said.

The Telangana Congress leaders have been pleading with the central leadership for the last two years to implement the announcement made by the Centre on 9 December 2009 to form separate Telangana, Jana Reddy said.

Congress leaders from Telangana had recently met the Congress leadership in Delhi and set a June end deadline to take a positive decision. They had threatened to take harsh steps if a final decision was not taken within the period.

Congress Rajya Sabha member K Keshavrao claimed that party leaders from non-Telangana regions were trying to scuttle the formation of Telangana by meeting top Congress leaders in the first week of July.

The AP assembly has failed to take cognisance of the the alleged suicides by "600 persons" in support of separate Telangana demand, he charged.

There are 294 seats in the AP assembly. Around 50 MLAs, 11 MPs and 16 MLCs of the Congress are from Telangana region.

The Congress core group, including party president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had met for the second time on June 18 to find a solution to the Telangana statehood demand amid threats by party MPs, MLAs and ministers from the region to quit en masse if a decision on the issue was not taken soon.

However, no final decision could be taken.

The issue of Telangana has witnessed a sharp division along regional lines in the Congress in Andhra Pradesh, the only major state where the party is in power on its own.

Earlier, party leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions had also met Mukherjee apprising him of their sentiments for a united Andhra Pradesh.

The Justice Srikrishna Committee, which went into the issue, has recommended six options including creation of a separate Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital and keeping Andhra Pradesh united with constitutional and statutory measures for empowerment of the Telangana region.