Though stung by TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao’s decision not to merge his party with the Congress, ruling party leaders in Telangana to put on a brave face, vowing to expose the regional party’s true colours and urging cadres to be ready for elections.

Congress leaders were torn between criticizing Mr Rao for going back on his promise and almost pleading with him to review the decision in the larger interests of development of Telangana after the bifurcation.

Monday night’s unexpected announcement by the TRS chief prompted Congress leaders from Telangana to review the situation. Senior Congress leader and former minister K.Jana Reddy was closeted with his former colleagues – D.Sridhar Babu and P.Sudarshan Reddy besides PCC vice-president Md. Ali Shabbir -- at his residence on Tuesday morning.

The Congress leaders were unanimous that the TRS had deceived the people of Telangana by going back on the party’s promise to merge with the Congress. They said it was unfortunate that Mr. Rao was now trying to blame the Congress for not heeding his plea on inclusion of crucial issues relating to the region when the Bill was being drafted.

While admitting that the TRS decision could be counter-productive for the party, the Congress leader said the party should reach out to the people and explain the highlights of the commitment given by the Congress, particularly the contribution of AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

Talking to reporters after the hour long meeting, Mr. Shabbir did not mince words in accusing the TRS president of resorting to his old tactics. “He is a born liar and has never uttered truth,” he claimed, adding that the Congress party was now prepared to contest all the 119 assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats. He said it was wrong on Mr. Chandrasekhara Rao’s part to claim that he had not made any promise of merging the party in Congress.

Mr. Sridhar Babu however, said the Congress had never banked on the TRS’ support. “Our cadres know that merger was a tall order given the TRS president’s earlier actions. Anyway, we are hopeful that the Congress cadres will go all out and ensure the victory of party candidates,” he said.

Meanwhile Congress Rajya Sabha member V.Hanumantha Rao told reporters in New Delhi that the TRS chief should review his decision. “He is back stabbing the aspirations of families of over a thousand youth and students, who had laid down their lives for the cause of Telangana,” he said.