Keeping the party leadership on tenterhooks ahead of the possible voting on the decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail, eight Telangana Congress MPs abstained from a meeting convened by Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamalnath.

Mr. Kamalnath, along with the Congress Lok Sabha leader and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, convened the meeting to convince the MPs to participate in the debate and vote in favour of the government as and when needed.

The meeting comes in the light of the increased pitch in the demand for separate Telangana where some MPs openly aired their dissatisfaction over the leadership’s indecision.

After discussions at the residence of Madhu Yaskhi Goud on Tuesday morning, the MPs decided to keep away from the meeting in protest against the party leadership’s failure to give clarity on separate statehood issue. Interestingly, Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy too was among the absentees. Two Ministers from Telangana -- Sarvey Satyanarayana and Balram Naik -- participated in the proceedings as two members each of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Congress MPs -- Ponnam Prabhakar, G. Vivekanand, Manda Jagannatham, Gutha Sukhender Reddy, S. Rajaiah and Madhu Yashki Goud -- skipped the meeting, while Suresh Shetkar and Anjan Kumar Yadav (Lok Sabha) and Rajya Sabha members V. Hanumantha Rao and M.A. Khan were present.

The MPs who abstained did not reveal their mind on whether they would attend the House on Wednesday. “We will decide about our stand on Wednesday,” was how Mr. Prabhakar summed up.

The statement would complicate the situation for the Congress leadership as it comes in the light of a three-line Whip issued to the members to be present in the Lok Sabha and vote in favour of the party.