Ratcheting up pressure on the United Progressive Alliance government on Telangana issue, a senior Congress leader on Sunday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in attacking Home Minister P Chidambaram for not delivering on the statehood "promise" even as the 'rail roko' agitation disrupted normal life in the region for the second day.
A strong votary of statehood for Telangana, Congress leader K Keshav Rao said, "If the Congress did not want to give Telangana then why did Mr Chidambaram announce on December 9 2009 that the steps for formation of Telangana would be initiated? The words of the home minister should carry some weight."
Rao targeted Chidambaram for his comments in Parliament that Congress has not yet taken a stand on the issue and accused him of not getting his facts right.
"Let me correct him. I hold a bigger position than the home minister in the party. The Congress Working Committee way back in 2001 passed a resolution stating that there are valid reasons for formation of separate Telangana," he said at a meeting in Delhi on Telangana statehood issue. Rao said Congress leaders from Telangana are "frustrated" and their patience was running out.
Extending his party's full support to Telangana movement, Bharatiya Janata Party chief spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad asked the UPA government not to play with the sentiments of the people of the region. "Let your party (Cong) bring the Bill relating to Telangana in Parliament. We will fully support it without any compromise.... If we come to power we will deliver on Telangana," Prasad told Rao.
The general strike in the region also entered the 13th day with pro-Telangana organisations staging protests and organising human chains in Warangal, Karimnagar and other Telangana districts.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLA and party president K Chandrasekhar Rao's son K T Rama Rao said his father was still considering the option of undertaking indefinite hunger strike in support of Telangana demand.
"No final decision has been taken yet. The idea of undertaking fast between Dussehra and Diwali is being considered. A massive 'Chalo Hyderabad' is also being planned," he said.
The strike by all sections of people is being organised by the Joint Action Committee that comprises TRS, BJP and a number of people's organisations like pro-Telangana Andhra Pradesh government employees.
In Delhi, the BJP said the "overwhelming" support for the Telangana state should be respected.
Prasad accused the UPA of "manipulating" democratic institutions including the Lok Sabha Speaker's Office to delay the formation of Telangana. "The Telangana promise was made in the Common Minimum Programme of the UPA-I. After that they appointed a central committee headed by Pranab Mukherjee. This is not done at all. Please do not play with the sentiments of the people," he said.
The BJP leader said when MPs give in writing their resignation letters that has to be accepted. He was referring to resignations submitted by Keshav Rao and nine other Congress MPs from the Telangana region. "I have the highest regard for the office of the Speaker. But why the resignations are kept pending? Why is it that all democratic institutions are being manipulated to delay the formation of the state? This cannot be appreciated," he said.