'Demand for Telangana is part of the Congress manifesto'
Eight Telangana members of Parliament from the Congress were suspended for four days starting April 24 for having forced several disruptions of the House as they agitated for the statehood case.
As they decided to boycott the Lok Sabha on Monday rumour mills were abuzz that the suspended Congress MPs were planning to float a new party.
However, Madhu Yashki, one of the suspended MPs from Telangana, rubbished the rumours. In an interview to Vicky Nanjappa he said that it made little sense to quit the Congress and form a new party because only a national party can ensure the formation of Telangana.
Is it the end of the road for Telangana? Are the demands being made today falling on deaf ears?
No, I would not say so. We will continue to make our demands and we are confident that the state will be formed. The demand for Telangana is very much a part of the Congress manifesto.
But the Congress appears to have literally rejected the formation of Telangana.
The party has not changed its stand on Telangana. The party bosses have neither accepted the formation of the new state nor have they rejected it and that gives us the hope. However, what I would like to add is that there has not been any firm decision on the matter.
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Image: Supporters demanding a separate Telangana state shout anti-government slogans during a protest in Hyderabad. Inset: Madhu Yashki, a suspended Telangana MP
'Suspended MPs have no plans to quit Congress, form new party'
At the moment it looks like only 8 MPs are fighting for the cause of Telangana.
We have made a commitment to the people and we are abiding by it. For the Congress it has become a matter of survival and unless and until it declares Telangana there is no hope for the party in this region. More importantly, the welfare of the people of Telangana is a concern; the number of suicides are on the rise.
Are the suspended MPs planning to quit the Congress and form a new party?
There is no truth in these rumours. The talk that we will join hands with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi is also rubbish. Even if we form a new party and then ally with the TRS is the possible to form Telangana?
Only a national party can form the state. Our goal is to fight for statehood and will leave no stone unturned to make sure this happens. We are really not worried about our political future.
Image: Eight Congress MPs visit the Telangana martrys memorial in Hyderabad
Photographs: Snaps India
'Sonia Gandhi has not spoken against Telangana'
How is the equation of the Telangana Congress leaders with party President Sonia Gandhi today?
There is no issue whatsoever. I am very confident that Sonia Gandhi did not speak against the formation of Telangana. We trust her leadership. It is her decision and her vision, which has brought the Congress to power. I am sure she will understand the situation. We have no intention of standing up against her.
Even after being suspended by the party, which is headed by Sonia Gandhi...
The government has a responsibility to run the country. It has to deal with a number of issues other than Telangana. There is a budget that needs to be passed. As a member of Parliament I also have a responsibility to ensure that the budget is passed. However, for the sake of Telangana I am forgoing this responsibility.
Image: Congress President Sonia Gandhi
'Andhra Cong leaders bribed Sri Krishna Committee members'
Who, according to you, is the enemy here?
It is the leaders from the Andhra Congress who have played villain. The Union government is in no way responsible for this situation. It is these leaders from Andhra who have used their monetary power and the media to give a negative feedback to the central leadership.
They have been saying that if Telangana is formed then Andhra will burn. They have stage managed the situation to create panic among the party high command.
They have funded anti-statehood movements not only in Andhra Pradesh but also in Vidharbha and Surat. They even altered the Sri Krishna Committee report on Telangana. Some of the leaders paid bribes to the family of the members in the Sri Krishna Commission. (They money was exchanged in Dubai.) And hence the report was anti-Telangana.
Then why has the high command listened to them?
One cannot expect the high command to understand the situation entirely and hence they depend on a feedback from the state leaders. Unfortunately for us the Andhra Congress leaders are bigger in strength.
Image: A pro-Telangana supporter listens to a speaker during a protest in New Delhi
'In Andhra, Jagan's the problem for Cong, not Telangana'
But can't the Congress high command understand the real issue, especially when Telangana is slipping out of their hands?
Madam (Sonia) has been told that the Congress will lose out in Seema-Andhra if Telangana is formed. The leadership in Delhi has to look at the numbers as well. The biggest mistake these leaders did was underplaying the threat posed by (YSR Congress president) Jaganmohan Reddy. In Andhra, he is the problem for the Congress and it is not Telangana. Andhra Pradesh is a critical state for the Congress or for that matter any party, which intends to form a government at the Centre. In the year 2014, Andhra will again be the key state.
Moreover, the Congress thought that they would make for the loss in Andhra by winning in Uttar Pradesh. But after the poll debacle they need to win in Andhra. Hence, we hope today that our demands will be met.
Dividing the state may help the Congress in Telangana but what about the rest of Andhra Pradesh?
First of all the Congress cannot have the same gameplan for both Telangana and Seema-Andhra. The Congress can sweep Telangana once the state is formed. But as far as the rest of the state goes the issue is Jagan. The Congress should look to sort that out.
Image: YSR Congress President Jaganmohan Reddy greets his supporters
Photographs: Snaps India
'Renuka Chowdary not really a supporter of Telangana movement'
How helpful has (Rajya Sabha MP from Andhra) Renuka Chowdary been?
She has been of no help. She made that insensitive statement that Telangana is not instant coffee. She is irresponsible and is a supporter of Telangana only on paper, but not in reality.
What is the next course of action?
We will boycott the session, as we believe that suppressing our voice for a cause is undemocratic. We may sound like rebels here, but we are true Congressmen. If our demands are met and the state formed it would first be the people and also the Congress, which will benefit in Telangana. However, there is no question of quitting as I pointed out earlier that only the Congress can form Telangana.
Image: Telangana supporters participate in a protest in Hyderabad
Photographs: Snaps India