Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad told Telangana Congress leaders not to go by media reports on the separate state issue and that no final decision has been taken on it.
“Do not go by the media reports about who said what. My Beijing ramarks have been misrepresented in the media. So were the comments by Pranab Mukherjee,” Azad told the leaders. Acknowledging the importance of the issue, Azad is said to have assured the team that the objective of his dialogue was to resolve the issue in two months.
“I will take your arguments to them (the other region’s leaders) and seek their opinion. Similarly, I will bring their apprehensions to you and take your opinions to them. After studying the various views, a final decision will be taken,” he told them.
According to sources, in response, the T-Congress team told the high command that the mood of the people of the region is such that nothing short of Telangana was acceptable to them. The team, consisting of ministers, MLAs and MPs also informed them that any dialogue can only be about the technicalities of the division.
The conveners of the steering committee, K Keshava Rao and Panchayat Raj minister K Jana Reddy allowed all the members to vent their feelings. Initiating the talks, civil supplies minister D Sridhar Babu told Azad that, “Now, the issue is division of the state. No alternative is acceptable to us.” according to the minister himself.
Sridhar Babu stressed the need to resolve the issue at the earliest.
Industries minister J Geeta Reddy, strongly arguing the case of a Telangana state, brushed aside Azad’s suggestion to attend the duties as the dialogue was initiated.
“Attending duties pending the announcement is not possible. If we go back without any assurance, we would be treated as traitors. So, we cannot attend the office till Telanagna state is formed,” Geeta Reddy said. Every one present in the meeting agreed with her.
MP Manda Jagannatham said the issue of division of the state should alone be the agenda for the talks. “If the party wants to come to power in Telangana, formation of separate state is the only option. If Telangana is announced, Congress would win not less than 16 seats. If the party reneges on the issue, it would lose in the both the regions,” Manda told Azad.
Nizambad MP Madhu Yashki was categorical that Congress had no option but to accord statehood to the region as it was the commitment owed to the people of the region since 2004.
Another MP G Sukhender Reddy said,” We have been assuring the people that Congress alone could be giver and fetcher of separate state. Going back on the promise means death knell to all members present in the meeting,” Sukhender said.
Turning emotional, Karimanagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar said Congress members would not have any other option but to commit self-immolation if the party goes back on Telangana state.
Ponnam also complained about the provocative statements from Seemandhra leaders especially from TDP MLA Payyavula Kesav. “Situation is going out of hand because of the delay in announcing the statehood,” Ponnam lamented.
Bhupal Palli MLA Gandra Venkataramana Reddy asked about Pranab Mukherjee’s apologetic voice on December 9 statement by home minister P Chidambaram.
He requested that such a statement would create ill-will between the regions.
Azad assured the member that party leaders should go by official statements only. Later, he asked them to come for the second round of meeting tomorrow at 5 PM, but in a small group. TOI