Special Correspondent

Ponnala describes Telugu Desam 'padayatra' as a sham, says project was conceived by Congress

Telangana only when Congress gets absolute majorityTDP had no moral right to take out padayatrasCLP seeks TDP explanation on neglect of projects

Hyderabad: G. Venkataswamy, member of the Congress Working Committee, has pushed the Telangana Statehood issue further away from the Congress agenda by arguing that it could think of it only when it had absolute majority in the Parliament.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Mr. Venkataswamy said as long as the Congress was dependent on others in running the Government, there could be little that the party could do. His party needed either the consensus of every one to sanction separate Statehood or an absolute majority to go ahead on its own.

'Matter of numbers'

He said the Congress was committed to the issue and had no hesitation in conceding the demand of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). But, as long as parties like the CPI(M) opposed it, that would not materialise. "It was a matter of numbers after all," he added.

Turning his attention to the padayatra of Telugu Desam leaders for early completion of Pranahitha-Chevella project, he wondered what made the leaders take to the roads for the same. The project was conceived by the Congress and he played an instrumental role in securing the consent of the Government. Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had laid the foundation stone for the project as soon as he came to power.

Later, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) too joined the chorus in rubbishing the TDP yatra as a sham and sought an explanation from the latter for Telangana neglect during its rule. The TDP leaders had no business to undertake the yatra as they not only opposed the projects but also any development in Telangana, the Government Whip, D. Sridhar Babu and secretaries of the CLP -- S. Ganga Ram and K.Surekha said.