Hectic activity over Telangana continued in New Delhi on Saturday. As the Congress and United Progressive Alliance government appear to be veering towards formation of a separate state, senior ministers from Andhra Pradesh wrote a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi threatening to resign if the state is split.
Ministers and MPs from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday opposing any division of Andhra Pradesh. Union Ministers M M Pallam Raju, K S Rao, Chiranjeevi and D Purandeshwari (all hailing from coastal Andhra) and MPs Bapiraju and Anantarami Reddy met Dr Singh in a delegation and favoured maintaining a united Andhra Pradesh. Sources said the delegation conveyed to the prime minister that creation of a Telangana would not be in the interest of the state and the country.
On Friday, there were high-level discussions between the Congress leadership and the state Congress leadership on the demand for creation of Telangana. All India Congress Committee General Secretary incharge of Andhra Pradesh Digivijay Singh and his predecessor Ghulam Nabi Azad held separate discussions with Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana and Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha. The two leaders are understood to have conveyed to the state leadership that the party has made up its mind on creation of Telangana and it was only a matter of time before it is announced.
The discussions were followed by deliberations held in the core group meeting held at the residence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Congress President Sonia Gandhi chaired the meeting which was also attended by senior Cabinet ministers A K Antony, P Chidambaram and Sushil Kumar Shinde. Sources said the party and the UPA government was in favour of a division of the state, which could be decided after the completion of the local bodies elections this month end.
The decision could be announced in the first week of August and may be formalised at a meeting of the Congress working committee after which the issue could go to Parliament for passage of a bill for the purpose.
Bapiraju said the delegation told the PM that formation of Telangana will create problems in many states including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh where there are demands for separate statehood. e said the PM gave a patient hearing to the leaders.
Meanwhile, speaking in Vijayawada on Saturday, Congress MP Lagadapati Rajagopal, who is opposed to Telangana, advised his party's Lok Sabha members from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema not to support any move in Parliament for creation of a separate state by dividing Andhra Pradesh.
Talking to reporters, the MP from Vijayawada in coastal Andhra said he has urged Congress parliamentarians from the non-Telangana regions to oppose any bill for the formation of a new State if it is brought in Lok Sabha. Rajagopal advised the Congress MLAs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema to do the same if a similar bill is introduced in the assembly.
On resignation by some MLAs in support of united Andhra Pradesh, he said this would not serve any purpose and only reduce the strength of legislators who are opposing creation of Telangana.
Instead of resigning, these MLAs should lead and strengthen the movement against bifurcation of the state, the Congress MP said. He earlier visited the site of a protest organised by united Andhra Pradesh supporters. Rajagopal asked students and Andhra Pradesh employees, who are opposing statehood to Telangana, to persuade MPs and legislatures to announce their open support for unified Andhra Pradesh.