Cong leaders brace for T-showdown

With signals from New Delhi indicating that a decision on the Telangana issue may be taken soon, Congressmen from all three regions of Andhra Pradesh are preparing for a final showdown.

While the Congressmen from Telangana are organising a mega public meeting at the historic Nizam College grounds on Sunday, ministers and Congress leaders from the coastal Andhra and Rayalseema regions have made it clear that they will oppose any move to divide the state.

Ministers, legislators and leaders from the Seemandhra region met here and decided to call on Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh to apprise him of their views. Singh will visit the state on Sunday, his first after taking over as the general secretary in charge of the party affairs in Andhra Pradesh.

One of the ministers, S Sailajanath, told reporters that they would meet other central leaders in Delhi. “We want the state to remain united and we will do whatever we can to ensure this,” he said. Another minister, T G Venkatesh, said they were united in opposing the state’s division. The only exception was Union Textiles Minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, who said he would abide by the Central government’s decision on Telangana.

Rao became an Union minister recently. Reversing his stance on the Telangana issue, he said as an Union minister, he has to abide by the high command’s decision. This has fuelled speculation that the Congress has arrived at a conclusion on the issue and will make an announcement soon. Talking to reporters during his first visit to Hyderabad after being inducted into the Union cabinet, Rao said one has to compromise at times.

Hailing from coastal Andhra, Rao has so far been leading the MPs opposing any move to bifurcate the state. Former state Congress chief and a leader from the Telangana region, D Srinivas, said the Central government may soon announce its decision. “This time there will be no resignations by the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema MPs and MLAs like in 2009,” he said, hinting at a consensus among the Congress members  in the state.

Union Science and Technology Minister S Jaipal Reddy, who is from Telangana, has reportedly intensified his efforts in Delhi to convince the central leadership to take an early decision on the issue. Sunday’s public meeting enjoys the full backing of Reddy.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on June 3 said a decision on the contentious issue would be taken this month after two Congress MPs and senior party leader K Keshava Rao joined the Telangana Rashtra Samithi.

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