Sunday was unlike any other weekend for Congress leaders from Telangana. Union ministers, State ministers and party MLAs from the region, who have been wallflowers all these days in the Telangana movement, vied with one another to give full-throated slogans. Setting aside their differences, they made an earnest appeal to party president Sonia Gandhi to grant statehood to the region at the earliest as per the promise made by the Centre on December 9, 2009.
Exuding confidence that Sonia will keep her promise, the leaders reiterated that there was no option but to carve out a T-state as it existed before 1956 with Hyderabad as its capital.
Addressing a public meeting, named Telangana Sadhana Sabha, at the Nizam College grounds — perhaps, the first of its kind by T Congress leaders in the recent past — everyone, from Union Minister Sarve Satyanarayana, Deputy Chief Minister C Damodara Rajanarasimha and Panchayat Raj Minister K Jana Reddy to MP Ponnam Prabhakar, appealed to the people not to lose faith in the party.
They requested their Seemandhra counterparts in the party to cooperate with them for the smooth division of the State. Predicting bifurcation very soon, Rajanarasimha and Jana Reddy, who organised the meeting, said, “Madam, we are confident that you will not go back on your promise. Now, the appropriate time has come for formation of the T-state. Hence, we plead with you to announce your decision in favour of a T-state.”
Turning emotional, Rajanarasimha alleged that Telangana had been discriminated against by rulers from Rayalaseema and Andhra, who have ruled the State for almost 50 years.
“Our battle for a separate state is neither for packages for our region nor any posts for us. We are waging the battle to have our own state not only for development but also for self-respect,” said Rajanarasimha.
In an indirect reference to Seemandhra leaders, he alleged that some leaders were coming in the way of a T-state, “which is not good for them.”
“You please recognise our existence and respect it. We too will do the same. I request those leaders, who are creating obstructions, not to invite the wrath of T-people. Let us get separated as regions and grow as states,” he said.
Recalling that the struggle for a separate state is more than five decades old, Rajanarasimha said, “In a united Andhra Pradesh since 1956, Telangana leaders got a chance to be at the helm of affairs for only 12 years. The principle of equality has not been observed. There was all round discrimination and hence, Telangana has been boiling.”
Jana Reddy Not after Power
Jana Reddy said they would send the unanimous resolution, passed at the meeting, urging the AICC president to accord statehood to Telangana, to the Congress high command immediately.
“Even then, if our leadership doesn’t take a positive decision, we will inform madam Sonia that we won’t accept any posts in a T-state. We will also tell her that we won’t even seek party nominations in the ensuing general elections once the long-cherished dream of our people is fulfilled. But, we will assure the party leadership that if a T-state is delivered, we will ensure that the Congress bags a majority of Lok Sabha seats in the region, whether we are given party tickets or not,” said Jana Reddy.
Former PCC chief D Srinivas exuded confidence that T-state would be formed very soon and Hyderabad would be its capital whereas Sarve Satyanrayana said Sonia would never renege on her promise.
Salvos at TRS
Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao, MPs M Anjan Kumar Yadav and Madhu Yashki Goud devoted most of their time to fire salvos at the TRS leadership.
They recalled that the state Congress was the first to demand a separate T state. In 1999 they had submitted a resolution to their party high command. In 2004, it had entered into alliance with the TRS assuring separate T state. This showed the commitment of the Congress towards Telangana, they said.
Karimnagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar created a flutter during the meeting by questioning his colleagues, “Do we have any action plan to implement in the event of the high command refusing to divide the State?”
Union minister S Jaipal Reddy, who has been watching the T-movement from the sidelines and is reportedly lobbying with the party high command for a T-state, stayed away from the meeting.
As usual, ministers Danam Nagender and M Mukesh Goud, known as ‘Hyderabad brothers’ too skipped the meet.