Defending his ambivalent stand on bifurcation issue, the TDP leader says that the two regions are like his children

Future moves of the Congress on Telangana may depend on how it fares in the Assembly elections in the five States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Mizoram in November, according to Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu.

If it is routed in the major States, the ruling party may find it difficult to table the Telangana Bill in the winter session of Parliament, Mr. Naidu observed here on Tuesday.

The TDP chief feels the national political scenario remains hazy and confusing. One had to wait and watch and how the Third Front shaped up as an alternative to the UPA and NDA alliances.

Asked about the prospects of the TDP allying itself with the BJP in the wake of his meetings with Sangh Parivar leaders, Mr. Naidu declined to comment beyond recalling that he shared with Narendra Modi a common platform provided by the Citizens for Accountable Governance in Delhi on October 2. It may be mentioned that the BJP is insisting that the Centre clear the apprehensions of Seemandhra people before introducing the Bill on Telangana. This position is not radically different from the one Mr. Naidu took while undertaking an indefinite fast against what he called the Centre’s “arbitrary decision” to bifurcate the State without addressing the concerns of the people of Seemandhra. However, ever since he began his fast, the TDP leader drew flak for lacking clarity about its very purpose. He has been accused of failing to spell out whether he was in favour of separate Telangana or a united Andhra Pradesh. His reply: “How can I speak the same political idiom as Jaganmohan Reddy. He has given up on Telangana whereas my leaders and cadre in the region are looking to me for guidance and leadership.”

‘Jagan lacks commitment’

Mr. Naidu was talking to The Hindu from his hospital bed in the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology (AIG) where he was admitted on Monday after the Delhi police forced him to break his indefinite fast. Doggedly defending his stand, Mr. Naidu said Telangana and Seemandhra were like his two children and it was unfair to ask him to choose between them.

He said he was ‘one hundred per cent convinced’ that Mr. Jagan had no conviction for ‘Samaikyandhra’ and was only playing to the Congress’ tunes. In fact, he was no different from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), in that both had an understanding with the Congress, the former to deliver seats in Seemandhra and the latter in Telangana.

“Who knows what deal Mr. Jagan will clinch with the Congress after the elections to get the CBI cases against him dropped”, he added.

He expressed distress over what he felt were attempts of Congress leaders to create confusion and division among the Telugu people by making contradictory statements. Senior partymen like S. K. Shinde and Digvijay Singh were misleading people on key issues like the timeframe for the Group of Ministers to submit its report, the deadline for the formation of Telangana and referring the Telangana resolution to the Assembly.