The struggle for a separate Telangana state in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday suffered another setback with ministers from Telangana region attending the cabinet meet at the state secretariat.
It was the first meeting of the state cabinet in four months to be held at the state secretariat and marked a major turnaround by the Telagnana ministers.
As many as 11 of the 15 ministers from Telangana region had tendered their resignations from the state assembly in July. They had since stayed away from their offices in the state secretariat. Their refusal to come to the secretariat had forced Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy to hold the cabinet meeting at his camp office two-and-a-half months ago.
This time, Reddy exerted pressure on the Telangana ministers to attend the cabinet meeting at the secretariat, citing the case of the Telangana employees who had called off their strike and resumed work. The cabinet meeting was important as its agenda included the Rachabanda or Village Junction programme starting from Wednesday and many other welfare programmes including the Re 1 per kg rice scheme.
Minister for Panchayat Raj K Jana Reddy was the only Telangana minister who skipped today's meeting as he was in New Delhi. Dr P Shankar Rao, another Telangana minister, left the place after signing the register but without attending the meeting.
Telangana ministers are also likely to start attending their offices in the state secretariat from Monday. Except a couple of ministers, including Home Minister P Sabita Indra Reddy, all other ministers have stayed away from their offices after tendering their resignations from the assembly, to exert pressure on the Centre for an early decision on Telangana issue.
The ministers were in a quandary over attending the official programmes of the Andhra Pradesh Formation Day on November 1. The Telangana Joint Action Committee and other pro-Telangana organisations have given a call for the boycott of the official celebrations and observing the day as "Day of Betrayal", as its marks the forcible merger of Telangana with Andhra in 1956.
TJAC and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti have also give a call for hoisting black flags on that day. Even the Congress MPs from the region have announced their support to boycotting the official programmes and urged the Congress MLAs and other elected representatives not to participate in them.
Reddy, who will hoist the national flag at a function in Hyderabad, is mulling the idea of asking the district collectors to hoist the flags in their respective places if the ministers stay away.
November 1 was likely to mark the fresh trouble on the Telangana front as some leaders were planning to go on an indefinite hunger strike.
Former minister Komatireddy Venkat Reddy will be launching a hunger strike in Nalgonda. Apart from the Congress MPs, the Telangana Joint Action Committee and Telangana Rashtra Samiti have also announced their support to his indefinite fast.
Twelve MLAs of TRS will also launch their indefinite hunger strike in Karimnagar district on the same day as the police refused them permission to go on a fast in Hyderabad.