Criticises Congress for handling the ‘T’ issue in a casual manner

The Telugu Desam Party has ruled out the scope for presenting its views on Telangana and Samaikyandhra issue to the high-level committee headed by senior Congress leader A.K. Antony.

TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu said his party considered the high-level panel as a party committee and not the one constituted by the Central government. “How can we approach a committee constituted by the Congress to air our views,” he asked at a press conference here on Tuesday.

Mr. Naidu wanted the Centre to consider constitution of an all-party committee with due representation from the government side for resolving the concerns expressed by Seemandhra people. He criticised the Congress leaders for issuing provocative statements instead of making efforts to defuse tension prevailing on the two sides.

He said the Congress took a “unilateral decision” on Telangana for “political gains” without addressing the concerns expressed by the Seemandhra people. This was evident from the fact that the Congress leaders including Digvijay Singh spoke about merger of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi in the party.

“The Congress is not averse to lifting cases against YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy if he agrees to merge his party before or after the elections so that it can get advantage in Seemandhra,” he said.

He faulted the Congress leadership for the manner in which it has handled the sensitive issue without “adequate homework”. Asserting that the TDP was committed to its stand on the vexatious issue and would not back out, he criticised the “egoistic and casual manner” in which the Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram replied to the debate in Rajya Sabha on Monday.

The ruling party’s approach was faulted by all the Opposition parties including the BJP and the CPI, the two parties that were in favour of separate State.

The Congress, he alleged, had not made any efforts to evolve unanimity and consensus between the two sides as was recommended by the Justice Srikrishna Committee in its fifth option.

Several questions including the status of Hyderabad remained unanswered, but the Congress was yet to realise that “something has gone wrong” by the way it handled the situation. The ruling party was bent on getting credit for the formation of separate Telangana as could be seen from the fact that it had traced the roots of the issue to 1999 when late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was the opposition leader.