The Seemandhra ministers who went to Delhi as a delegation to scuttle any move to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh were given audiences by AICC high commandos Ghulam Nabi Azad and Vayalar Ravi on Wednesday.
Emerging from those meetings, members of the delegation were keen to indicate that the Centre’s mind is leaning towards bifurcation.
Minister T G Venkatesh, a hardcore advocate of united Andhra Pradesh, said, “The mood of the high command seems to be favourable to a Telangana state. The Centre seems to be considering the statehood demand to bail out Congress leaders from Telangana who are facing problems in their region.”
The other ministers in the delegation were Erasu Pratap Reddy, P Viswaroop and Kasu Venkata Krishna Reddy. They first met Azad and then Vayalar Ravi.
During these meetings, the ministers cautioned the Centre about a violent backlash in Andhra and Rayalaseema if a Telangana state is announced. In addition to this red rag, they also trotted out familiar antibifurcation points: shared Telugu culture, possibility of inter-state water sharing disputes, etc.
However, despite their spiel, the ministers felt that the chances of a separate Telangana state are bright. However, other Seemandhra leaders such as Guntur MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao said this was yet more speculation. Union minister M M Pallam Raju added his bit to the babel of voices on Telangana.
“All the reports emanating from Delhi, that the Centre is considering formation of a Telangana state are only speculation. Personally, I back a united Andhra. If Andhra Pradesh, the largest state in the south, is bifurcated, we will lose bargaining power at the Centre as our strength of MPs will be divided between the two states.”
Interestingly, minister Danam Nagender, who set off the ongoging verbal duel on the Telangana issue by claiming that he had enough indications that a separate state would be formed soon, changed his tune after meeting chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy along with minister Mukesh Goud.
Nagender and Goud said, “If at all a division of the state is imminent, then Hyderabad should be made a separate state. Before taking any decision our high command should take us into confidence”. Back in Hyderabad, interregional tempers ran high on the eve of a convention of Seemandhra ministers in Congress leaders in the state capital on Thursday.
While Congress MPs from Telangana called upon people of their region to obstruct the proposed meeting, Seemandhra pledged to meet come what may. Telangana MP Madhu Yashki Goud saw the hand of some shadow figures behind the moves to hold the inyour- face meeting.
“KVP Ramachandra Rao orchestrated a drama of resignations by Seemandhra elected representatives after the Dec. 9, 2009 statement was issued by the Centre. He is once again hatching a conspiracy to block the formation of a Telangana state,” he said in Delhi.
Reacting to this, Sambasiva Rao said, “We will hold the Samaikyandhra meeting at any cost. We are not cowards to cancel the meeting.” Added minister Ghanta Srinivasa Rao: “We have every right to hold a Samaikyandra meeting in Hyderabad.
We will resign if Telangana is given. And our resignations in support of a united state will not be perfunctory like the ones given by Telangana leaders.”
Ministers from Telangana under the leadership of panchayat raj minister K Jana Reddy made an appeal to their counterparts from Seemandhra not to raise the temperature at this juncture.
The leaders of TJAC decided to hold a silent protest at Gun Park here on Thursday. Kodandaram said, “Seemandhra leaders are holding this meeting only to provoke the Telangana people. It is not good of them to do this.
If anybody comes in the way of the formation of a Telangana state, they will be crushed like stones under the wheels of the chariot of Lord Jagannath.”