Just when Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu thought he had managed to make Telangana and Seemandhra leaders agree to a common party line, unlike the Congress, two leading lights from either side indulged in acrimonious exchanges in public plunging the party into turmoil.

Like the earlier tussle, the trigger this time too was over Telangana and the way Rajya Sabha member and vice president of the party, C. M. Ramesh moved the Supreme Court challenging the Centre’s decision to divide the State. Mr. Ramesh is the second TDP leader from Seemandhra to knock the doors of the apex court after senior MLA, Payyavula Keshav.

War of words

Telangana leaders are upset that the leadership was not initiating action against such leaders who by approaching courts were blatantly questioning the party’s Polit Bureau decision of 2008 in favour of Telangana and the letters given to the Centre subsequently. If these leaders were so anti-Telangana they should have prevailed over the leadership then. Some wondered if the leadership itself was prompting them to do so as part of its “two eyes” and the latest “two equal halves of a coconut” policy.

Errabelli Dayakar Rao, convenor of the Telugu Desam Telangana Forum, on Friday accused Mr. Ramesh of amassing wealth by bagging contracts and then getting Rajya Sabha membership without even being elected as a ward member of a panchayat. The Polit Bureau member said Mr. Ramesh’s action was nothing but betrayal as he was elected to the Rajya Sabha with support from Telangana MLAs too. He served an ultimatum on party president N. Chandrababu Naidu to suspend or expel him from the party. “Time has come for Mr. Naidu to choose between me and Mr. Ramesh.”

Mr. Ramesh hit back calling Mr. Rao illiterate who did not know the finer points of the law and that he would continue to fight the bifurcation as long as justice was not done to the people of Seemandhra.

He reminded him that one need not be a ward member to get into the Rajya Sabha. Mr. Rao had targeted Mr. Keshav similarly and said he deserved to be removed from the party.

Surprisingly a few days later on November 12, Mr. Dayakar Rao shared a party platform with Mr. Naidu at a brainstorming session advising him on how to gear up the party to face the coming elections, giving the impression that the leadership was not taking such wordy duels seriously.