In a sensational development, which has delivered a major blow to the main opposition Telugu Desam Party, senior leader T Devender Goud on Monday resigned from the primary membership of the party, protesting against party's failure to take a clear stand in support of Telangana.
Goud also quit the state legislative assembly where he was party's deputy floor leader.
Another senior leader and former minister, E Peddi Reddy, has also quit the party.
Goud sent his three page resignation letter, detailing the reasons for his resignation through his personal secretary to the TDP headquarters, NTR Bhavan. His resignation came in the backdrop of intense speculations over the last one week that he was going to part ways with the party.
Goud, in his letter, said he was forced to take the step as several party leaders were attacking him for raising his voice in support of Telangana demand.
Since the TDP's core committee on Telangana issue met in Devulapally village in Vizianagaram district on June 18, Goud was sulking as he was completely isolated by the party leadership.
He was the only member in the five-member committee to take a clear stand in support of Telangana while the party president N Chandrababu Naidu wanted him to go slow on the issue.
With the news of Goud's resignation coming out hundreds of followers and University students gathered outside his residence shouting slogans in his support.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti leader K Chandrasekhara Rao, who had also quit the TDP in 2001 to launch the pro Telangana movement called up Goud over phone and greeted him on his decision.
At the same time, the resignation also evoked sharp criticism from some of the party leaders from Telangana region, including Nagam Janardhan Reddy and K Harsihwar Reddy. They alleged that Goud was trying to create a crisis in the TDP because of his selfish interests.
Goud was with the TDP since its formation 26 years ago and won the Medchal assembly seat twice. He held important portfolios of Home and Revenue in different TDP governments.
Kadiam Srihari, another senior TDP leader from Telangana region supporting the demand for separate state said that he has not made up his mind on resigning from the party.
"I feel that the only way to persuade Goud to withdraw the resignation is for the party to take a categorical stand in support of Telangana. Only then we can struggle to make the party stronger," he said.