TRS chief’s offer puts Congress under pressure

Sunday, December 26, 2010

HYDERABAD - Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s offer to merge his party with the Congress if a separate Telangana state is formed has mounted pressure on Congress leaders in the region who met here Sunday, with a section of them saying the party should accept it.

A day after the TRS chief said he was ready to dissolve the TRS and merge it with the Congress if its demand for Telangana state is conceded, the ruling party leaders met here to chalk out their future course of action.

While this is not the first time that KCR, as Rao is popularly known, has offered to merge his party with the Congress, the timing is what has made it significant.

The five-member Srikrishna committee, which looked into the demands for and against separate Telangana state, is scheduled to submit its report by Dec 31.

A section of Congress leaders in Telangana want the party to take the initiative in carving out a separate state and claim credit for this.

“Any delay in formation of a Telangana state will only strengthen TRS and this will badly hit the prospects of our party in the elections whenever they are held,” said a senior Congress leader from Telangana.

The meeting of Congress MPs and legislators from Telangana held here Sunday took note of KCR’s latest offer and discussed the strategy to be adopted after Dec 31.

The meeting felt that they should go all out to achieve the separate state instead of allowing TRS and other groups to claim credit.

The leaders noted that since KCR floated TRS in 2000 only to revive the Telangana movement, the formation of separate state would make the party irrelevant.

They decided to present their views before the central leadership while underlining the need to immediately carve out a separate state.

Political analysts say Congress was already troubled by talks of mid-term elections due to the threat posed by former MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s loyalists within the party.

The leaders of Telangana fear a backlash in the snap elections in the region. TRS may reap rich electoral dividends by riding on the Telangana movement and blaming the Congress for another betrayal.

Since Jaganmohan Reddy, who plans to launch a separate party, is focusing only in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions and has not much presence in Telangana, the TRS offer can help Congress in not losing the ground in the region.

KCR made the offer at a meeting of government employees from Telangana, which was also attended by Congress MP from the region Sarve Satyanarayana.

The Congress leader voiced unhappiness over KCR using abusive language against Congress leaders from Telangana.

KCR was not apologetic and even defended the use of such language, saying he had to carry emotions of lakhs of people.

Citing a sequence of events, the TRS chief said the people of the region felt let down by Congress leaders as they did not raise their voice when the central leadership went back on its Dec 9, 2009 statement to initiate the process for a separate Telangana and formed the Srikrishna committee.

To protest the central government’s move, all 10 TRS legislators had resigned and they were later re-elected with massive majority in the by-elections.

KCR’s offer has also come amid speculations that he had toned down on the post-Srikrishna committee report situation and was instead focusing on preparing the party for the next elections.

Filed under: Politics

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