Special Correspondent

Stress on need to maintain discipline and unity in party

HYDERABAD: Leaders of Telugu Desam Party converted a meeting to pay homage to its founder N. T. Rama Rao on his death anniversary on Thursday into a forum to take indirect jibes at a section of seniors and to emphasise the need for maintaining discipline and unity.

Some of the remarks made by these leaders were politically significant in the light of the recent developments in the party when those hailing from Telangana and led by T. Devender Goud held a meeting at Yadagirigutta. Another section from the same region took strong exception to this meeting terming it as an act of indiscipline.

Continuing in the same tone, leaders stuck to unity and discipline theme and did not lose opportunity to hit at leaders wanting the party to toe a different line.

Saibaba leads

It all started with Saibaba, making an appeal to party seniors to stop squabbling over leadership and concentrate on strengthening the party by moving closer to the people.

Another speaker -- former MLC, P. Yadagiri -- made it much more obvious. Recalling a past incident in 1984 he said the issue of pilot and co-pilot was settled long ago. "There cannot be a co-pilot when the pilot is hale and hearty".

Picking up the thread, Ch. Rajeswara Rao said never in the past, Congress had performed so poorly and committed blunders in such a short time, leaving the field open for the Opposition. "Our party has an onerous task and unless we remain united burying our ideological differences, it may become difficult for us".

Goud's response

Mr. Goud who was at the receiving end of discreet criticism, himself came up with a diplomatic response and sought to put at rest speculation.

Describing Mr. Rama Rao as social scientist who helped many suppressed classes to come up in politics, he said, "We should march together as soldiers of Mr. Naidu".