The heat generated here on the vexatious Telangana issue intensified further on Saturday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assuring a delegation of Seemandhra leaders, including four of his Cabinet colleagues, that their concerns about creating a separate Telangana State would be conveyed to the Congress Core Group and the Working Committee.
Human Resource Development Minister and Kakinada MP M.M. Pallam Raju, who was part of the delegation, told The Hindu: “We expressed our concern on the Telangana issue and Dr. Singh assured us that our feelings would be highlighted [at the appropriate forum].”
The delegation, which did not want the Prime Minister and the Congress to succumb to the pressure from Telangana leaders, told Dr. Singh that overall the Telugu-speaking population was totally against the division of the State. They also highlighted the possible fallout on the law and order situation in the Seemandhra region and the prospects of the Congress in the Assembly/Lok Sabha polls if Telangana demand was conceded.
Among others, Union Ministers K. Sambasiva Rao, K. Chiranjeevi and D. Purandeswari and Congress MPs K. Bapiraju and Anantarami Reddy (all from Seemandhra) joined the delegation.
Telangana Congress MP from Karimnagar, Ponnam Prabhakar, appealed to Seemandhra leaders not to precipitate the matter when the Congress/UPA-II government had almost come to a conclusion on giving Telangana.
“Let us separate as brothers and sisters and we can continue to live peacefully as neighbouring States [Andhra and Telangana]. Don’t put road blocks or obstacles as the high command has already announced that the consultation process was over and it was time to take a decision,” Mr. Prabhakar said.
Telangana Rashtra Samiti general secretary and Sircilla MLA K.T. Rama Rao hoped that the Congress, would take a good decision and table the Telangana formation Bill in the ensuing Parliament session, and not buckle under pressure and backtrack as it did in previous occasions. “The Congress has said that it is going to take a decision. It is their intra-party matter. Let us see what they decide.”
Asked whether the Congress had put any condition that Telangana would be formed only if the TRS agreed to merge it with the Congress after the new State was formed, Mr. Rama Rao said: “So far no such proposal has come to us.”
When pointed out that there were reports that the Congress wanted to form Telangana keeping in mind the 2014 Assembly/Lok Sabha polls and to thwart the TRS from taking credit of achieving Telangana, he said: “We don’t equate the separate State issue with the bank statement like credit or debit. If Telangana is formed, we will be happy, as our mission is accomplished. We don’t mind even if somebody takes the credit for forming the separate State. We only want the separate State immediately for which we have been fighting for over the years.”