Former Minister Gade Venkat Reddy has disputed the claim of his party colleague K.R. Suresh Reddy and other leaders quoting Union Home Minister S.K. Shinde as saying that Congress’ stand was in favour of bifurcation.
At a press conference here on Monday, Mr. Venkat Reddy, one of the two Congress representatives to attend the all-party meeting in New Delhi, said leaders were giving interpretation to suit their political ends. It was Mr. Suresh Reddy who favoured bifurcation amid demands by the other representatives that the Congress spells out its stand first.
“All that Mr. Shinde said was that Mr.Suresh Reddy was in favour of separate Telangana,” Mr. Venkat Redy said. “How can anyone attribute Suresh Reddy’s opinion to Mr. Shinde,” he said.
He said he was prepared to quit politics if other party representatives furnished proof that Mr. Shinde had said that the Congress was in favour of two States.
Mr. Venkat Reddy said the high command did not issue any dictate to them to air a single opinion. “AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad gave us a free hand to air the opinion of our respective regions,” he said.
As a staunch integrationist, he had strongly pitched for retention of the State in its present form. “I am confident that Centre will not take any decision to bifurcate the State,” he observed.
Mr. Venkat Reddy was critical of the media for trying to paint a picture that he was not given an opportunity to speak and that the Congress party was considering Mr. Suresh Reddy’s opinion as the party stand. “It is absolutely false as Mr. Shinde allowed me to speak thrice,” he said.
Immediately after his press conference, three Congress MLCs from Telangana -- Mr. K.R. Amos, K. Yadava Reddy and Bhanuprasad -- asked why the Seemandhra leaders were openly making statements against bifurcation. “Why is Mr. Venkat Reddy talking about the all party meeting when the other representative Suresh Reddy is silent,” they said.