Congress leader Venkataswamy plans for Telangana Congress

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

HYDERABAD - Congress Working Committee (CWC) member and Telangana protagonist G. Venkataswamy Wednesday said he would float a new party if expelled from the Congress for his remarks blaming the Congress president Sonia Gandhi for electoral reverses and corruption.

“If I am expelled from the party, I will form the Telangana Congress to achieve separate Telangana state,” said the octogenarian leader, who stunned the party by demanding Gandhi’s resignation Tuesday.

He also offered to withdraw his remarks against Gandhi if she agrees to the formation of a separate state. “I am ready to take back my remarks and even touch her feet if she accepts the demand for Telangana state,” the leader said.

The former union minister triggered a storm by saying Gandhi’s continuance on the post would further undermine the party. He also raked up the issue of her foreign origin.

Softening his stand, the minister said he made the remarks out of fear that a separate Telangana state would not become a reality with the party’s tie-up with Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) of Chiranjeevi, who is opposed to bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

He had taken a dig at the leadership for sending A.K. Antony to Chiranjeevi’s house to beg for his party’s support to state’s Congress government.

Congress sources, however, said Venakataswamy made the remarks out of frustration as the party leadership was already contemplating dropping him from the CWC. The veteran leader has also been sulking ever since his claim for the post of president of India was ignored by the leadership.

Venakataswamy’s remarks evoked sharp reaction from party leaders. State Congress chief D. Srinivas condemned his statement, saying Gandhi’s sacrifices were known to everybody.

Many leaders, including MP V. Hanumantha Rao, ministers J. Geeta Reddy, Damodar Rajanarasimha and K. Venkat Reddy said that he had lost moral right to continue in the party.

Security was tightened at Venakataswamy’s residence here after Youth Congress threatened to stage protest against him. Activists of Youth Congress and other party workers met Srinivas, demanding immediate action against Venkataswamy.

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