The Congress has named Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Raj Narasimha and Tourism Minister Vatti Vasant Kumar as the party representatives to attend the meeting convened by the Group of Ministers on in New Delhi on November 12 and 13.
Highly placed party sources on Sunday told The Hindu that the two would be the PCC representatives. “They will articulate the arguments of their respective regions,” the top Congress leader remarked, when queried why two representatives were named when the Centre was firm on going ahead with the process of division.
Against general perception that the Congress leadership this time would prefer to nominate a lone member to attend the interactive session with the GoM on division of the State, the decision to select two has come as a surprise.
Telangana Congress leaders have been opposing the move to nominate two representatives arguing that there would be no meaning to the CWC decision on bifurcation.
Sticking to tradition
In a way, the Congress has maintained its tradition of sending two leaders to all meetings relating to Telangana convened by the Centre. Housing Minister N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, then an MLA and present Union Minister K. S. Rao had attended the first all-party meeting. In the subsequent all-party meeting in December last, former Speaker K. R. Suresh Reddy and former Minister Gade Venkat Reddy represented their respective regions.
Party sources said the Deputy Chief Minister was chosen as he has been a strong votary of division of the State and that he could present the case in an effective manner. Even at the crucial meeting of the AP Congress Coordination Committee on Friday, Mr. Narasimha strongly opposed the views expressed by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.
Mr. Vatti Vasant Kumar’s selection is seen as a surprise move. Though, he has not been as vocal as some of his Cabinet colleagues on pitching for united Andhra Pradesh, he is stated to have played a key role in examining the scope for approaching courts to stall bifurcation.
Meanwhile, Union Ministers from Seemandhra are calling on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to present a six-page report on the issues that needs to be addressed if bifurcation process goes on. They have already demanded that Hyderabad should be made Union Territory with legislature. They sought empowered authority for Krishna and Godavari rivers.
In a related development, Telangana Congress MPs are likely to meet in New Delhi before presenting a report to the GoM on November 12 or 13.