What’s cooking between the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)? Who floated the idea of Rayala-Telangana? Is the invitation to State leaders for Friday’s core group meeting only intended to prepare them for a decision that has already been taken?
Amidst more indications from Delhi that it is no longer willing to delay a decision, informed sources told this paper that the Congress high command has so far not opened any direct channel of communication with TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao.
Notwithstanding signals that Delhi is inclined to split the State, Rao too does not want to jump the gun, given his bitter experience in the past when a T-state was almost offered but never realised. In no tearing hurry to get in touch with Delhi, he is, for now, talking to select Congress leaders who are conveying his mind to the Centre.
This is being interpreted in different ways. One, the Congress does not want to be seen as having made a decision in favour of division (if it does) after talks with Rao and, thereby, precipitate matters in the rest of the State. Two, the Congress seems to believe it will definitely have an upper hand if it creates a T-state and would then be in a better position to deal with TRS and even, force a merger.
An interesting dimension that has come out is that the proposal to merge two districts of Rayalaseema - Kurnool and Anantapur - with Telangana has been made by a senior leader from this region, holding a key post in Delhi.
The logic he reportedly put forth before the party leadership is as follows: a) it will satisfy Reddy leaders of Congress in Telangana and Kurnool/Anantapur and help the party retain its hold in the community and thereby, the politics; b) adding the two districts to Telangana will diminish the influence of TRS over the divided state in case it plays hard ball; c) it will also help cut to size YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu, both of whom come from Rayalaseema. But, in the event of the TRS agreeing to a merger with the Congress and depending on how leaders of Rayalaseema react to splitting the region between Telangana and Andhra states, it is likely that the Congress could drop this proposal.
Sources said Congress leaders from both Kurnool and Anantapur districts have already been sounded and made to agree to this proposal if it was pushed. The mellowed reactions of some leaders from these districts, who were otherwise belligerent in the past,indicates this. According to sources, Delhi is also not likely to pay too much attention to the presentations that the three leaders from the state - chief minister, deputy chief minister and PCC chief - are expected to make at Friday’s meeting.
It is only intended to create an impression that everyone has been heard and more importantly, prepare them for a decision that is already said to have been taken.