With no respite in sight, the All India Congress Committee is planning on calling a meeting of all leaders from Andhra Pradesh to discuss the proposal to set up a Rayal-Telangana state.
While the first priority of the Congress would be to delay the formation of a separate state until the elections are complete, they would put on the table a new proposal to add two districts from Rayalaseema into Telangana and create a Rayal-Telangana state.
A four member panel headed by Union Defence Minister A K Antony is looking into this issue at the moment. At its first meeting held on Tuesday, it was decided to propose adding of Ananthpur and Kurnool districts to Telangana.
The original announcement by the Congress Working Committee around two weeks back did not speak about the creation of a Rayal-Telangana. However, it is now clear that this was part of the original plan and the Congress intentionally kept it aside since it did not want any confusion in the Telangana region.
The people of Telangana and their leaders are very strongly opposing any such move, and in case the Congress decides to go ahead with it, there is expected to be a lot of trouble in the region.
While the people of Telangana are strongly opposed to the idea of a Rayal-Telangana, the leaders from Kurnool and Ananthpur have given their consent. The leaders from these two districts were briefed about the same and told that for the time being there would be no announcement of a Rayal-Telangana. However when the process is being initiated they would include these two districts into the new state.
According to sources, some Congress MPs from the Telangana region too have given their support to the addition of two new districts into Telangana. They had, however, told the high command that this should be done over a period of time and not immediately until the election process is complete.
While this proposal would pacify some of the leaders from Ananthpur and Kurnool, the Congress would also be looking at a major political gain with this sort of a formation.
Both Ananthpur and Kurnool are major strongholds of the YSR Congress Party and if they are merged with Telangana, then this party has a lot to lose.
In addition to this it would also split the votes intended at the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the Congress feels. With no merger with the TRS and the Congress in sight, the latter would use this tactic to tame both its rivals and eat into a major share of the votes.
The inclusion of these two districts would only mean that the Reddys and the Muslims would be the dominant vote bank in Telangana, and this according to the Congress would benefit them.
Image: Telangana supporters protest in Hyderabad. People of the region are firmly opposed against the creation of Rayal-Telangana
Photograph: Krishnendu Halder/Reuters