The Telangana issue has landed the Congress and its Andhra state unit in a very difficult situation. The party, trying to recover from TMC’S embittered exit at the Centre is cornered on the Telangana front. While in Andhra, the Telangana leaders are stuck in a dilemma—of whether to sympathise with the Telangana Political Joint Action Committee’s (TJAC) proposed “Telangana March” programme scheduled for September 30 in Hyderabad, the Congress high command is being pressurised by the state party members to make an announcement on the state bifurcation at the earliest.
To make things worse, the Congress is split along regional lines. Clashes between leaders of Telangana and Seemandhra regions are affecting its stand on the T-issue. This split coincides with the full-blooded protests from the opposition in the Andhra State Assembly on the Telangana issue. Leaders from the BJP, TRS and CPI (M) stalled the proceedings of the House demanding a resolution on the separate state last week.
As the date of the proposed march nears, the Andhra Congress is on tenterhooks fearing a likelihood of the Telangana March turning violent. Perturbed by the proposed march, CM Kiran Kumar Reddy roped in ministers from Telangana region to persuade the TJAC to postpone its proposed Telangana March. But the TJAC has rejected Reddy’s appeal and demanded an immediate announcement from the Centre in favour of separate state.
TJAC’s March has put the state Congress leaders in a catch-22 situation. The leaders fear if they do not take part in the march, in which several sections of people in the region are expected to participate, they will be targeted by the Telangana agitators. At the their party may not take kindly to their participation in the protest march with other separatist forces.
Congress ministers from Telangana region recently sent a letter to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi requesting her of an immediate decision on separate state issue. “We are collecting the signatures MLAs of the party from the Telangana region. We will send the letter to Madam Sonia Gandhi requesting her to take an immediate decision on the issue of state bifurcation,” said Congress MLA Bikshamaiah Goud.
Congress has been holding discussions with the TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao over Telangana issue for the past few days—sending speculations on an all-party meet. But, the Opposition termed these feelers as a ploy by the AICC to hoodwink the Telangana people.
Then, things are worsening for Kiran Reddy. His comments on Telangana earned him huge criticism from the separatist parties. CPI state secretary K Narayana demanded an unconditional apology from Reddy to people of Telangana. Also, the Telangana factor seems to have forced the state Congress leadership to postpone the much-publicised brainstorming session scheduled for September 23. PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana, while speaking to mediapersons at Gandhi Bhavan here on Monday, said he would announce a fresh date after consulting senior leaders. TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao continues to be in Delhi, waiting by the telephone and reportedly signalling his willingness to merge his party with the Congress in return for Telangana.
The Congress high command is hastily consulting its leaders on the Telangana issue. On the other hand, Seemandhra leaders are also planning to visit Delhi to seek assurance form their high command that Andhra Pradesh will not be divided. Between intra-party clashes, cracks, pressure from its state unit and the Opposition parties, especially TJAC, the Congress has to walk the tight rope with the T-issue on its back.