Political heat over the Telangana statehood demand rose as the Seemandhra and Telangana Congress leaders intensified lobbying for and against separate Telangana in New Delhi on Monday.

Over 50 Congress MPs, Ministers, MLAs and MLCs from Seemandhra region, who reached the Capital this morning commenced parleys with the central leadership. The delegation first met the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) Andhra Pradesh observer Vayalar Ravi, but could not get his audience as the latter was leaving for Kerala. He, however, assured an appointment on Tuesday evening.

The leaders then met party general secretary Digivijay Singh and Treasurer Motilal Vora. During their interaction with Mr. Singh, they made a forceful plea against bifurcation of the State explaining the possible consequences.

Talking to reporters, Mr. Singh said that as he was not holding charge of Andhra Pradesh, the issue has been entrusted to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde to make an announcement on the issue on January 28. Interestingly, the APNGOs leaders led by its president Gopal Reddy and others accompanied the Congress delegation. They said they would not hesitate to launch an agitation if the State was divided.

AP Congress Legislators Forum convenor S. Sailajanath said they were in the process of impressing upon the high command that any decision to divide the State was not in the interest of the ruling party. They submitted a separate memorandum to the Congress leaders.

Telangana leaders optimistic

The Telangana Congress leaders, meanwhile, geared up to counter the Seemandhra Congress leaders’ claims. Telangana Congress leaders, predominantly first timers, held an emergency meeting in the Congress Legislature Party and decided to proceed to New Delhi on Tuesday to join their party MPs from the region.

Government Whip Arepalli Mohan and others told reporters that the Congress leadership appeared inclined to take a favourable decision on Telangana and appealed to their Seemandhra counterparts not to obstruct the process. The T-MLAs were particularly critical of Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal who was trying to provoke people of both regions with his “unparliamentary” remarks.