Uncertainty over the status of Hyderabad in the post-bifurcation scenario in the wake of talk that either it would be made a Union Territory or the Centre would have controlling powers on it appears to have put the merger of Telangana Rashtra Samithi with the ruling party on the back-burner.

This coupled with the increasing pressure on the TRS leadership from different sections to maintain a separate political identity has reliably forced it to push the matter of “working with the Congress” into cold storage. TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao had announced in Delhi last year that they were not averse to merger with the Congress after the Bill on formation of Telangana was passed by Parliament.

However, things started changing after July 30 with the Congress Working Committee approving statehood to Telangana by proposing to make Hyderabad the joint capital for the initial 10 years and the talk of giving Union Territory status to the city gaining weight.

Main condition

Sources in TRS told The Hindu that they were still open to the idea of merger provided statehood is given to Telangana, including 10 districts and Hyderabad as capital with unrestricted administrative powers, including law and order, on Hyderabad. “We don’t want a weak Telangana government that will have no or little control on Hyderabad,” sources said.

The Congress in Telangana, the TRS believes, would go into oblivion even if it gives Telangana by tinkering with the status of Hyderabad. One more consideration that is holding TRS back on the merger issue was the waning prospects of the Congress at the national level.

“The writing on the wall is clear and in such circumstances it will be foolish to surrender the advantage of being the lead party in the region and make good bargains for the new State,” the sources said.

The issue of merger was premature since the process on formation of Telangana was not complete and their focus now was on the de-merger of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh, a TRS leader said.