Stepping up the heat, Congress MPs from Telangana on Friday appealed to Sonia Gandhi to announce decision on creation of a separate state as promised by January 28, failing which they threatened a showdown with party.
There was, however, a division among the MPs on the issue of whether or not to quit the party with some favouring the move and others disagreeing.
Six MPs turned up for a meeting at Manda Jagannatham's house in Hyderabad on Friday and after hectic parleys, made an appeal to Sonia reminding her of Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde's promise of announcing a decision on the statehood demand within a month from December 28.
"We want you to take a decision in favour of Telangana by the 28th," the MPs requested their party chief.
"We will meet on January 29 to chalk out our future course of action if our demand is not conceded," they warned after the meeting.
"We are ready for a showdown with the party if it does not keep its word on creation of Telangana state," they said.
The MPs spit fire on All India Congress Committee general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad over his statements two days ago on the statehood issue.
"Azad has insulted the Union home minister who is a Dalit," Manda Jagannatham lashed out.
"Azad's comments amount to betraying the people of Telangana once again. We can convince people once or twice (on the delay in coming out with a decision). The Congress' prestige will only diminish further if the Centre drags its feet," he remarked.
Former MP K Keshava Rao, who also took part in the meeting, too found fault with Azad's remarks and strongly condemned them.
The Telanagana Congress MPs spoke in different voices on the issue of quitting the party.
While Manda, Gutta Sukhender Reddy and G Vivekananda dropped enough hints that they would quit the party if it did not honour its word on Telangana, Ponnam Prabhakar and Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy differed with them.
"If Telangana state can be achieved by changing the party, I am ready for it. But resignations will not achieve anything," Ponnam observed.
Though he spoke belligerently against the party, Rajagopal Reddy, too, said he would not submit his resignation. "We are ready for a showdown with the party. We will show our might and stall Parliament during the budget session if Telangana is not granted," he added.
Interestingly, Rajagopal Reddy's name was also in the list of "probables" who were supposed to switch over to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi along with fellow MPs Gutta Sukhender Reddy, Manda Jagannatham, G Vivekananda and S Rajaiah.
Though initially there was talk that Ponnam Prabhakar and Madhu Yashki too would follow suit, they have reportedly dropped the plans and decided to sail with the Congress.
"Whether we join any other party is not the question now. We will not hesitate to quit Congress if it took a decision against creation of Telangana state. We will take some harsh decisions," MPs Gutta Sukhender Reddy and G Vivekananda said.
"There will be repercussions...all kinds of repercussions if the Centre did not keep its word on Telangana," Vivekananda warned.
For the record, however, all the MPs said they would wait for the Centre's decision on the issue till the January 28.
Former minister Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, on the other hand, met TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao at the latter's residence this morning and discussed ways to carry forward the struggle for Telangana state in the wake of the Centre's flip-flops on the issue.
Venkat Reddy had been openly criticising the Congress leadership over the statehood issue for sometime now. He is also tipped to join the TRS along with his close associate and MLA Lingaiah. TRS circles claim that at least half-a-dozen MLAs of the ruling party were ready to switch sides if the Centre did not announce a decision on Telangana by 28.
"The state government, which is already so precariously placed, will fall if five MLAs and five ministers from Telangana resign," TRS MLA T Harish Rao said, addressing a protest demonstration organised by the statehood seekers at Indira Park in Hyderabad.