Telangana Rashtra Samiti president K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday dropped broad hints of his opposition to a merger of the party with the Congress by posing a question to a crowd whether it wanted the same; he got a reply in the negative.

As soon as a voice went up saying “no”, Mr. Rao was quick to repeat the word “no” to the crowd and targeted the Congress for setting up obstacles on the TRS’ path in the aftermath of the passage of the bifurcation Bill in Parliament. He was addressing a well-attended meeting outside the party office here.

The TRS president said a decision on merger would, however, be made at a meeting of the party’s polit bureau on March 3. “We will decide whatever is right for Telangana.” (The meeting of the polit bureau along with that of the parliamentary and legislative parties and the executive was initially slated for March 1 but was postponed by two days as it was a New Moon Day and the party did not want its very first meeting after the passage of the Bill on an inauspicious occasion).

Expressing reservations about the Congress, Mr. Rao recalled the remarks of Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh here on Thursday that he was personally against a separate Telangana. It meant that the Congress leader was trying to protect the interests of Seemandhra. This was a matter of concern.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders are critical of statements made by TRS leaders on the merger. A section of Congress leaders maintains that Mr. Rao is non-committal on the merger with an eye on seeking his pound of flesh in terms of seats in the coming elections.