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Updated: December 13, 2009 02:38 IST

Protests expose double standards: TRS chief

Special Correspondent
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TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao greets supporters who gathered at his residence in Hyderabad on Saturday. Photo: Nagara Gopal
The Hindu
TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao greets supporters who gathered at his residence in Hyderabad on Saturday. Photo: Nagara Gopal

“The whole burden of the people of Telangana is now on the shoulders of Sonia Gandhi”

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has decided to continue maintaining silence "to avoid unnecessary and undesirable consequences" in the face of violent protests in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema over the Centre's assurance on initiating the process for the formation of a separate Telangana State.

Satisfied with Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram's statement on December 9, TRS president K. Chandrasekhara Rao and other leaders are monitoring the developments in New Delhi to see whether the Centre yields to demands from leaders of the two regions and goes back on its promise. "They are aware that there will be a counter-agitation and it will be more virulent," a senior leader said.

Mr. Rao, who is recuperating from his 11-day fast, gave express instructions to party leaders and cadre not to get provoked by the reactions and comments being aired by leaders from the other regions. The ongoing protests, the party feels, are temporary and will subside within no time, and "they are only exposing the double standards of the leaders from those regions."

When contacted by TheHindu, Mr. Rao said he would make public his stand on the political turmoil in a couple of days. The TRS, meanwhile, preferred to make its voice heard in the New Delhi, as "we trust that the Central government will honour its commitment given to the people of the Telangana region."

While thanking Congress president Sonia Gandhi for accepting the demand for a separate State, Mr. Rao said the TRS would not backtrack on the Telangana movement until it was carved out.

He dismissed the claims to Hyderabad by coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema leaders. The 'Twin Cities' (Hyderabad and Secunderabad) would be an integral part of Telangana where people from all regions, hues and colours would live in peace, he said.

Other TRS leaders said they saw the possibility of the crisis deepening further in the light of the upheaval caused by the resignation of more than 130 MLAs and the reported threat by nearly 20 Ministers to step down from the Cabinet.

The TRS leaders and activists took out a victory rally from Mr. Rao's residence to the party headquarters, Telangana Bhavan, at Jubilee Hills. Though Mr. Rao was expected to participate, he did not attend on the advice of doctors.

"It's up to the Centre"

PTI reports from New Delhi:

"Having made the announcement, it is up to them [the Centre] to resolve the issue. I think they are at it," the TRS chief told NDTV.

Asked specifically whether he would go back on the Telangana issue in view of the evolving situation in the rest of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Rao said: "The question does not arise. An arrow [that] once leaves the bow cannot be brought back."

Praising Ms. Gandhi, he said the whole burden of the people of Telangana was now on her shoulders. "I am thankful to her...because of her initiative and grace, today the dream has come true."Claiming that Ms. Gandhi loved him like her son, Mr. Rao said he had "a lot of faith" in her and "fairly good person" Manmohan Singh, who is at the helm of affairs.

"It is better for the leaders of Andhra Pradesh to concede the request of Sonia Gandhi," he said, dubbing the anti-Telangana agitation an "artificial" one, "prompted, funded and with wrong motives by vested interests." These elements have investments in Hyderabad, including in benami land, Mr. Rao alleged, but said wise leaders of both sides would find a solution.

Why a resolution?

Dismissing as a "cock and bull story" the need for an Assembly resolution for formation of the new State, Mr. Rao said the Centre only needed to inform the Assembly. "There is no need for a resolution from the State Assembly. It is the formality of the Government of India to keep the State Assembly informed."

Asked whether there was any deadline for the formation of Telangana, he merely said there was no deadline or hardline.

To a specific question how long he would wait, Mr. Rao said Mr. Chidambaram had clearly said that he was making the announcement on the issue on behalf of the Centre.

"It is a statement from Government of India. The Government of India is the Government of India. Once it takes a decision that becomes the prestige of the government to ensure that it is implemented," he said.

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