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TRS quits Cong govt in Andhra
Ramesh Kandula
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, July 4
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) today quit the Congress government in the state though it decided not to divorce the UPA coalition at the Centre as yet.

The TRS, a coalition partner in the state, pulled out of the Congress government, alleging anti-Telangana policies being pursued by the Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy-led Congress government.

The withdrawal, however, does not affect the present government, as the Congress has a majority (185) of its own in the 292-member Assembly. The TRS has 26 MLAs.

Five out of six TRS ministers submitted their resignations to Governor Sushil Kumar Shinde, a day after the Chief Minister was dismissive about the regional party’s withdrawal threats.

“Mr Reddy is anti-Telangana. His government is perpetrating gross injustice on the region in irrigation projects and is indulging in fake encounters despite our protests. We can no more be party to his anti-people policies”, Mr S. Vijayarama Rao, TRS floor leader, declared, coming out of Raj Bhavan.

Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who met the Governor, said he would give his response on the issue to the Governor later. He also made it clear that he would leave for the Dubai tour as scheduled in the evening, notwithstanding the TRS action.

Meanwhile, senior TRS minister S. Santosh Reddy refused to toe the party line, saying he was not a slave to anybody. Mr Santosh Reddy, a former Congressman and at present Minister for Transport, is likely to sail with the Congress, given his discomfort with TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao.

The TRS, with five MPs, including two ministries at the Centre, will, however, continue to support the UPA government. Both Union Ministers K. Chandrasekhar Rao and A. Narendra have stayed put in Delhi, despite the developments in Hyderabad.

The resignation move is being seen here as a well-thought out strategy by KCR, as Mr Rao is known, to mount pressure on UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi over the issue of Telangana and also to earn a reprieve for his party from Naxalites.

As the party is being increasingly seen as sold out to the comforts of power in Delhi as well as in Hyderabad, a desperate KCR, cornered from all sides, had to give the green light to four of his party ministers, who met him in Delhi yesterday, to quit the state government. Mr Rajasekhara Reddy’s humiliating treatment of the TRS ministers throughout has only fuelled the fire.

Mr Rao, however, does not want to severe all ties with the Congress. He still believes that Mrs Gandhi will come to his rescue. The TRS ministers, even after their resignations, continued to maintain that they still had faith in Mrs Gandhi in realising their dream of a separate state.

They announced that they would step up their movement for the formation of Telangana and would launch a tirade against Rajasekhara Reddy government on various irrigation projects, which deprived the region of its rightful share in irrigation waters.

Meanwhile, Congress legislators from Telangana are a happy lot with the development, as it opened up ministerial doors to many of them. As the TRS had cornered six berths in the Cabinet, many Congress aspirants from Telangana were left out in the ministry formation.



TRS turns heat on UPA govt
T. R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
Hemmed in by the Naxalite threat in Andhra Pradesh forcing their withdrawal from the Congress-led coalition government in Hyderabad, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) is pressurising the Manmohan Singh government to make its position clear expeditiously about carving out a separate Telangana in the southern state.

Even as the TRS is gearing up for launching a frontal attack against the Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh, regional party leader and Union Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here this evening and outlined his groupings intention of mounting an all out onslaught against the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister.

The TRS chief rejected Mr Manmohan Singh's request to reconsider his party's decision to pull out of the Andhra Pradesh Government

He apprised Dr Singh of Mr Reddy’s behaviour as a “factionalist” who has constantly humiliated the TRS and done a lot of injustice to the Telangana region.

It is apparent that the situation in Andhra Pradesh is one of daggers drawn between the Congress and the TRS which has threatened to take the agitation for a separate Telangana to a very high pitch. That is going to create problems for Mr Reddy as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and have its adverse impact in the Congress-led UPA.

Dr Manmohan Singh has assured Mr Rao of looking into the matter and trying to put Congress-TRS relations on an even keel in Andhra Pradesh which appears difficult as it has plumetted into the depths.

He counselled for patience and wait for the report of Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee who has been asked to liaise closely with all allies of the UPA and prepare a report on the carving out a Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh.

The expectations are that Mr Mukherjee will speed up the same to assuage the feelings of Mr Rao and his colleagues.

The TRS-Congress bonhomie was hanging tenuously for just too long and waiting to blow up and the blame for this is being laid solely at the door of Mr Rajasekhara Reddy. At the same time the TRS is unlikely to sever its links with the Manmohan Singh government in a hurry.

Mr Rao is expected to meet UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi over the next few days as well as the other partners of the UPA and the leaders of the Left parties on their demand for a separate Telengana state.

Before meeting the Prime Minister, Mr Rao had threatened to pull out of the UPA government if the party failed to receive a satisfactory response on the issue of a separate Telangana state. “We will decide whether to stay in the UPA or not after meeting Dr Manmohan Singh, Mrs Gandhi and seeing their response to our demand.”

He maintained that now that “we are free (out of the government in Andhra Pradesh), we will launch protests against any anti-people action in the Telengana region.” There was no mistaking that this salvo was fired against Mr Rajasekhara Reddy.

“We joined the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh at the insistence of Mrs Gandhi though we were not interested in the first instance,” Mr Rao stressed.

Mr Rao was expecting something positive to emerge on the simmering Telangana issue by October last year but that was not to be. With nearly nine months having gone by from the first deadline, the regional grouping is now under intense pressure from the Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh.

The TRS chief, who was initially a Cabinet minister without portfolio, used to zip off to Hyderabad at the drop of a hat. In contrast to that, Mr Rao, now overseeing the Labour portfolio, has barely made three trips to his home state in the last five months.

The Congress leadership at the highest level is already in touch with Mr Rao, according to party spokesperson Anand Sharma. He said Union Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee, heading a UPA subcommittee on the Telangana issue, had spoken to Mr Rao and AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh, who is in charge of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, is also in touch with the TRS leader.

Mr Digvijay Singh expressed surprise at the developments of the TRS pulling out of the Rajasekhara Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh. Nevertheless, he expressed confidence that the matter would be resolved amicably.

At the same time TRS sources told the Tribune that they now wanted a discussion on Mr Mukherjee’s report on the creation of Telengana before the monsoon session of Parliament began on July 25. Clearly, the TRS is toughening its stance at the Centre even as a rapprochement between the TRS and the Congress in Andhra Pradesh appears remote.


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