They should persuade high command, say leaders at a meeting
HYDERABAD: A meeting of former Chief Ministers and presidents of State Congress unit here on Tuesday placed the onus of convincing the party high command on the Telangana issue on Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and APCC president D. Srinivas. But the two leaders maintained a studied silence.
Irked by the ‘cold response’, CCWC member G. Venkataswamy reportedly asked: “If not here, where else can we talk about the issue?”
However, Dr. Reddy and Mr. Srinivas, who hosted the luncheon, made it clear to the leaders not to discuss the issue in the media and instead await the view of the high command on it.
Former Chief Ministers N. Janardhana Reddy and Nadendla Bhaskara Rao and former PCC chiefs -- V. Hanumantha Rao, P. Narsa Reddy, K. Keshava Rao, K. Rosaiah and M.A. Azeez -- and Rajya Sabha member K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao also attended the luncheon hosted by Mr. Srinivas.
When Mr. Narsa Reddy said that even an integrationist party like the TDP changed tack and backed separate statehood demand, the Chief Minister recalled that his government had admitted on the floor of the House that the aspiration for a separate Telangana was strong.
Stating that Dr. Reddy and Mr. Srinivas had the responsibility to persuade the high command on the Telangana issue, Dr. Keshava Rao said the party’s performance in the next elections depended on the two leaders. Besides, the reported statement of Union Minister Renuka Chowdary opposing separate State drew flak.
Seats for BCs
Mr. Hanumantha Rao reportedly sought more seats to BCs citing Praja Rajyam’s social justice slogan and 100 seats slogan by the Telugu Desam Party. However, Dr. Reddy intervened to say that the party was committed to giving 33 per cent seats to the BCs.
Mr. Srinivas told reporters that the meeting was intended to devise a strategy for the elections.
“Seniors have given their suggestions on how to retain power. Everybody felt that united and coordinate efforts alone will bring back the Congress,” he said.