Rumblings within Congress over its decision to form Telangana grew on Friday with its seven MPs, a state minister and seven MLAs from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions quitting amid indications that some more are likely to follow suit.
However, the party apparently managed to dissuade four Union Ministers from resigning. HRD Minister Pallam Raju was one of them who offered to quit but was asked to stay on.
Upset over the party's decision taken on Tuesday, seven Congress MPs and four Union ministers from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions held marathon meeting in New Delhi late Thursday night to evolve strategy against formation of Telangana decision.
The seven MPs -- six Lok Sabha members and a Rajya Sabha member -- then went to Parliament on Friday morning and submitted their resignations.
The Lok Sabha members who put in their papers were A Sai Prathap (Rajampet constituency), Anantha Venkatarami Reddy (Anantapur) C V Harsha Kumar (Amalapuram-SC), Vundavalli Arun Kumar (Rajahmundry), Lagadapati Rajagopal (Vijayawada) and S P Y Reddy (Nandyal). They submitted their resignations to Lok Sabha Secretary General T K Vishwanathan.
The MPs said that three more Lok Sabha members from the state -- Sabbam Hari (Anakapalli), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (Ongole) and Rayapati Sambasiva Rao (Guntur) -- had also faxed their resignations. Congress has 31 members in the House from Andhra Pradesh.
Rajya Sabha member KVP Ramachandra Rao tendered his resignation to Rajya Sabha Secretary General Shamsher K Sheriff. Congress has 13 members in the Upper House.
In Hyderabad, Municipal Administration Minister M Maheedhar Reddy resigned today, taking to four the number of ministers who put in their papers since yesterday.
Congress MLA Dronamraju Srinivas also tendered resignation and another half-a-dozen MLAs also claimed to have quit.
The total number of Congress MLAs who resigned since Thursday went up to 20 while about 15 others claimed to have submitted their resignations to PCC president B Satyanarayana.
Four Union Ministers -- Pallam Raju besides Ministers of State D Purandeswari, Killi Kruparani and JD Seelam -- were said to be among those intending to protest against the Telangana decision. Raju had already offered to quit.
They met AICC in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijaya Singh after which they decided "to continue to hold fort" as they were assured that a high level committee would be set up to address the grievances of people from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.
The ministers were believed to have been assured that they would be made members of the committee.
The resignations by MPs came a day after Congress Union ministers and unhappy MPs from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions held a meeting at the residence of KVP Ramachandra Rao late last night.
At the meeting, the Union Ministers are understood to have counselled the MPs not to resign saying that after the Congress high-command's decision on Telangana formation, it would focus on Andhra's future development.
However, the MPs felt that the situation has still not gone out of hand and by tendering their resignations, they can force the government to hold back its decision.
Some of them were also of the view that the issue could be raised effectively in Parliament by stalling its proceedings when the Monsoon Session begins from Monday.
Image: Protests continue in Andhra Pradesh against Telangana statehood