Will T Devender Goud quit the Telugu Desam Party to plunge headlong in to Telangana movement?
Goud, the TDP's senior most and influential leader in the Telangana region has dropped hints to his party colleagues of his intention to quit the party over the Telangana issue. Before leaving the first meeting of the Telangana Panel of the party at Devulapally village in Vizianagaram district on Wednesday, a fuming Goud told other members, "You will see a historic development soon".
The three hour long meeting of the five member committee in the presence of TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu turned out to be a disaster as it only widened the gap between Goud and other members. While Goud stuck to his position that if it does not take an early decision on Telangana, it will be wiped out from the region, others opposed him bitterly.
Naidu,who chaired the meeting, had shifted the venue of the meeting from Hyderabad to Vizianagaram to keep things under control. but the move did not work. Goud categorically told Naidu that there were strong sentiments among the people of Telangana for a separate state and respecting them the TDP should announce its support to the Telangana cause.
"Otherwise party will suffer extensive damage". Goud told Naidu evoking strong objections from K Yerran Naidu and Y Ramakrishnudu .
Informed sources said that while Goud was unrelenting in his demand for an early decision by the committee, other members opposed it. "The success in the recent by elections has come as a shot in the arm for the party cadres in all the three regions and party is very strong all over the state. If we take a hasty decision on Telangana, it will send a wrong signal," Ramakrishnudu said.
"It is not easy to take a decision on dividing the state", Ramakrishnudu chided Goud. At one point the arguments had become so heated that others had to intervene to bring the situation under control.
Naidu was concerned that if the party takes a pro-Telangana line, it will antagonize the people in Andhra and Rayalseema region.
"Telangana has only 119 assembly seats while other regions have 175 seats," Naidu told Goud, but Goud maintained that taking a pro Telangna stand will create a wave in favor of TDP in the region and party will also be able to do well in the other regions as the people there to want their own separate state.
The meeting ended with out taking any decision and it was clear that Naidu wanted to adopt a wait and watch policy, much to the chagrin of Goud, who felt completely isolated.
If Goud walks out of the TDP and joins the struggle for Telangana, he will only be following in to the footsteps of K Chandrasekhara Rao who had also quit the TDP in 2001 to launch Telangana Rashtra Samiti.
However the reason for KCR leaving the TDP was slightly different. Rao had fallen out with Chandrababu Naidu as he was denied a berth in the cabinet and instead given the ceremonial post of deputy speaker. After reviving the dormant Telangana movement and launching his own party, KCR had played a major role in the rout of the TDP in 2004 elections.
If Goud also quits the party, possibly with several other senior TDP leaders of the region, it will spell a disaster for the TDP as it will be left without any mass based leader.
Goud, a backward class leader on the other hand has come from the grass root level. Before getting elected to the state legislative assembly in 1994, he served as the chairman of Ranga Reddy Zilla Parishad. He also held key portfolios of home and revenue under Chandrababu Naidu.
However Goud's joining the TRS is ruled out because KCR was much junior to him in the TDP. One possible way for him is to join the proposed political party of film star Chiranjeevi if the party takes a pro Telangana line, "He will be finalizing his plans only after consulting other like minded leaders in the TDP," a source closed to him said.