Differences appeared to have cropped up among ministers hailing from Telangana region as two of them are understood to have decided not to withdraw their resignations.
Higher Education Minister D. Sridhar Babu and Information Technology Minister Komatireddy Venkata Reddy have decided not to follow in the footsteps 11 of their colleagues as they felt there has been “no concrete outcome” on the statehood issue, party sources said.
The other ministers, however, denied knowledge about any such development and state PCC President D Srinivas claimed all the 13 ministers from the region have withdrawn their resignation.
13 ministers from the Telangana region had resigned after Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s statement on December 23 putting the Telangana issue on the backburner.
They demanded immediate steps for creation of a separate Telangana.
“In the morning when we all met at the residence of PCC president D Srinivas, we had decided to withdraw our resignation as the Centre began the process of creating a separate Telangana state by convening an all-party meeting on January 5. But we are not aware of the two ministers’ fresh decision,” Ministers J. Geeta Reddy, Jupalli Krishna Rao, R. Venkata Reddy, Ponnala Lakshmaiah and D. K. Aruna told reporters at the Secretariat after meeting Chief Minister K. Rosaiah.
“We are writing a letter to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi informing her about our decision to take back our resignations as we have sent our common resignation letter to her earlier,” the ministers said.
Sridhar Babu and Komatireddy have been strong votaries of a separate state and were among the first to tender their resignations.
In fact, Mr. Komatireddy was the one who claimed to have faxed his resignation letter to Chief Minister Rosaiah while the others signed a common resignation letter and forwarded it to Sonia Gandhi.
Interestingly, Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy, Health Minister Danam Nagender and B C Welfare Minister M. Mukesh Goud did not attend the meeting with the PCC president.
Mr. Nagender and Mr. Mukesh, hailing from Hyderabad, have been demanding Union Territory status for the city. Only five ministers met the Chief Minister after their meeting with the PCC chief and conveyed their decision to withdraw the resignations.
“The Centre’s announcement on beginning the process for creation of a separate state is not a trivial issue. The Congress has never ever gone back on its word, right from the days of Jawaharlal Nehru. We have full faith in Sonia Gandhi and our party leadership,” the ministers said.
They said Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily spoke to them and wanted the resignations withdrawn now that the Centre initiated the process for creation of separate state.
They, however, added that they would chalk out their next course of action if the Centre “goes even one step backward” on Telangana.
Questioned about the Joint Action Committees’ objection to the withdrawal of resignations, the ministers noted that theirs was a national party and they had full confidence in the high command.
Talking to reporters, state Congress president D. Srinivas said all the ministers have withdrawn their resignations.
“I think all of them have withdrawn. They should go back to their duties,” he said.
The 13 ministers had sent a common resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Asked who would represent Congress in the meeting convened by Centre, Mr. Srinivas said, “Myself, Chief Minister and Congress in-charge of AP affairs Veerappa Moily, we will discuss the issue and take a decision.”
He said the party would send two representatives for the meeting in Delhi.
Asked about the reported demand of Congress MLA and Government Whip S. Sailajanath that CLP meeting should be held before the January five meeting to discuss the Telangana issue, Mr. Srinivas said the party would go by the advice of the party’s national leadership.
When pointed out the TDP criticism that Congress has not yet spelt out its stand on the Telangana issue, he said it will be known at the meeting called by the Centre. “Congress is a very big party. You will come to know about it in the meeting,” he said.
Asked about Chief Minister K. Rosaiah’s remarks that the month-long Telangana agitation had a negative impact on industry and particularly the Telugu film industry, Mr. Srinivas said the troubles for the industrial sector would only be temporary.
“No industry would go away from Hyderabad. They may have temporary problems. But there will not be any permanent problems,” Mr. Srinivas said.