The bitterness between Congress leaders from Telangana and Seemandhra over the Statehood issue was visible in New Delhi on Friday when the two sides did their best to avoid running into each other.
As a large contingent of Congress leaders from the three regions descended on the national capital to air their views and lobby for the respective causes, the political temperature shot up. The lobbying began well before the Core Committee met at 4 p.m. to discuss the vexatious Telangana issue.
Series of meetings
From the morning itself, the sides were huddled in a series of meetings among themselves and with the AICC leaders. However, the Telangana and Seemandhra groups took care not to bump into each in order to avoid ugly scenes.
The residence of Ponnam Prabhakar, MP from Karimnagar, was the hub of activity for the Telangana leaders while those from Seemandhra turned out in full numbers in AP Bhavan to lobby their case before Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana.
A Seemandhra delegation met Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy again after his meeting with AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and impressed upon him the need for a united Andhra Pradesh. Telangana Congress leaders led by Minister K. Jana Reddy and others met AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh with an appeal that the Centre could ill afford to delay a decision on Telangana.
Minor Irrigation Minister T.G. Venkatesh, who hails from Rayalaseema, said the statehood issue was brought to the fore with an eye on elections. There was a demand for creation of several smaller States and added that he was confident that no decision would come from the Core Committee meeting. He warned that there would be violence in the event of division of the State.