Congress mulling resolution on statehood demand in AP assembly



Hyderabad: With many of its plans to break the impasse over the Telangana issue coming unstuck, the Congress is now reportedly toying with the idea of moving a resolution on the statehood demand in the next session of Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

Congress circles were abuzz with this talk today even as its leaders from Telangana are set to organise a public meeting here tomorrow to proclaim that the party would indeed grant statehood to the region as per the announcement made on December 9, 2009.

Incidentally, the announcement made on December 9 by the then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram referred to moving a "resolution" in the Assembly but it was not moved because of the changed political equations within the ruling party as well as the main opposition Telugu Desam Party.

But now, with all other possible options not working, the Congress is contemplating moving a resolution in the next session of the Assembly, according to party sources.

Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, during his visit to New Delhi this week, discussed the issue with the Congress leadership and the possible fallout of the resolution.

Upon his return, Kiran's close confidants spread the ?resolution? talk even as the possibility of the Centre announcing a "special package" became the centre-point of the statehood debate in the last few days.

Going by the numbers in the Assembly, any resolution on the statehood issue is bound to get defeated as legislators from Andhra-Rayalaseema regions (175) outnumber those from Telangana (119).

Knowing it well and even stating that a resolution in the Assembly was not required as per Article 3 of the Constitution, the pro-Telangana parties like TRS, BJP and CPI have been insisting on the resolution.

They almost did not allow the Assembly function in the last three years on the issue and were occasionally joined by TDP legislators from Telangana.

By moving a resolution and getting it defeated, the Congress would like to lay the Telangana issue to rest and also expose it's political rivals like TDP and YSR Congress, according to a source.

"Now that other options (like a special package or creation of Rayala-Telangana) are being opposed, moving a resolution in the next session of the Assembly is an option that is being seriously considered.

"After all, this has been the main demand of TRS and other parties that are claiming to be in favour of a separate state," a government Whip and close confidant of the Chief Minister pointed out.

For now, the Congress is focusing on the impending elections to gram panchayats and that will provide a ground for the ruling party to test waters as far as the statehood issue and other political challenges like the impact of YSRC are concerned.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders from Telangana, under the leadership of state Panchayat Raj Minister K Jana Reddy, are fully geared up to organise the "Telangana Saadhana Sabha" (meeting to achieve Telangana) here tomorrow.

"This is our final fight for the statehood," state Information Technology Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah announced, adding that they would exert pressure on the Congress high command through the meeting.

"We have conveyed our demand to the high command in various forms. We even quit our posts and waited patiently. But this is going to be our last fight to achieve Telangana state," Ponnala asserted.

Though he may not attend the meeting, Union Minister for Science and Technology S Jaipal Reddy spoke to the organisers and announced his "total support" for the cause.

On the other hand, Union Textiles Minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao reiterated that he would abide by the Congress high command's decision on the statehood issue.

"As a Union Minister, I can not be confined to any particular region. For me the entire country is alike. I will convey my views (on the statehood issue) at an appropriate platform," he told reporters this evening.

PTI