The rift between Congress MPs and Ministers from Telangana region seems to have reached a flashpoint after the arrest and remand of Karimnagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar in Karimnagar.

The scathing attack by Nizamabad MP Madhu Yaskhi Goud against Minister for Panchayat Raj K. Jana Reddy is seen as the last straw. Refusal of the Telangana Ministers to quit their posts in support of statehood issue has not gone down well with the party MPs, whose resignation letters are already pending with the Lok Sabha Speaker. The MPs' ire was directed against the Ministers after they met the Chief Minister, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, and made an open appeal to the employees to call off the general strike.

‘Toeing TRS line'

Party leaders maintain that the MPs are upset over the alleged non-cooperation of the Ministers on the statehood issue. On the other hand, the Ministers are highly critical of the unilateral decisions taken by the MPs in the last few months. They contend that the MPs have been toeing the line of the TRS on every issue. They pointed out that the party MPs tried to be in the forefront of ‘rail roko' though it was the T-JAC which had given a call for it. They had not bothered to take into confidence the MLAs and Ministers. The result was the marginal presence of the legislators.

A Minister on condition of anonymity said the party MPs' effort was to hog the limelight. “They are trying to project themselves as martyrs. They want to send a signal that they are not bothered about their seats and that they are taking on the high command directly,” he said.

But Congress MPs fault the Ministers for sticking to their posts instead of ‘sacrificing' them for the cause of statehood. “If the Ministers had taken the initiative and put in their papers, the government would have been under tremendous pressure. This would have forced the high command to respond,” a senior MP said.

Party seniors from the region are worried that the open war of words among the leaders would damage the statehood cause. “Anti-Telangana forces will take advantage of the differences to further their cause and oppose bifurcation of State,” a senior APCC functionary remarked.