It will be futile to contest elections if the demand for statehood for the region is not conceded, says Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Raj Narasimha

Chanting the unity mantra and determined to prove that they are all in favour of the Statehood cause, Congress leaders from Telangana will hold a public meeting at the Nizam’s College here on June 30 to convey the message that time is running out and nothing short of a separate State would satisfy people of the region.

Amid growing criticism that they lacked commitment towards Telangana, 11 Ministers, 24 legislators and eight MPs and others attended a broad-based meeting on Tuesday.

Making a strong pitch for unity, Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy said they were only reminding the high command to fulfil its promise.

‘Seemandhra lobby prevails’

Former Speaker K. R. Suresh Reddy said after the all-party meeting last year, that Centre had almost conceded Telangana but put on hold a decision in wake of pressure from the Seemandhra lobby.

Mr. Jana Reddy urged partymen to mobilise one lakh people for the meeting and impress upon the high command that bifurcation was the need of the hour. Admitting that the going for the Congress was tough in the region, leaders were critical of high command’s dilly dallying attitude. Summing up their mood, Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Raj Narasimha said: “People will not trust us unless the Centre announces Telangana. It will be futile to contest the next elections.”

Rajya Sabha member V. Hanumantha Rao reminded that they were only asking for de-merger of Hyderabad State. “If Telangana is announced, we will win 15 Lok Sabha seats,” he said while Congress MPs – Madhu Yaskhi and Ponnam Prabhakar -- emphasised the need for reaching out to the people.

Dig at Jana

Interestingly, the meeting was held in the backdrop of a letter addressed to Mr. Jana Reddy by Medchal MLA K. Laxma Reddy on behalf of the first-time legislators questioning the timing when the Centre was sympathetic to the statehood cause.

“Is it not a fact that we are giving scope to the Seemandhra leaders to follow us? If they hold meetings, there is threat of the Telangana statehood issue being put on hold,” he added.

In a dig at Mr. Jana Reddy, he said some Ministers were lobbying hard to adorn higher positions and this meeting gave rise to such doubts.