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2 ministers resign on Telengana
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 22
In an attempt to save and retrieve their political space in Andhra Pradesh, the two ministers of the regional Telengana Rastra Samiti (TRS) resigned from the Manmohan Singh government this evening.

The resignation of Union Labour Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao and Minister of State for Rural Development A Narendra was delivered to the Prime Ministerís office as the Centre failed to concede their demand or make an unambiguous statement about carving out a Telengana state.

Mr Rao will embark on an indefinite fast at Jantar Mantar close to Parliament House tomorrow to press for their demand of a separate Telengana state which has been pending for long and led to riots in the southern state.

TRS General Secretary and spokesperson V Prakash made this terse announcement to a battery of mediapersons at the residence of Mr Rao with the latter ducking after a four-hour wait.

The UPA Coordination Committee tried its best earlier in the day to convince Mr Rao that they were close to reaching a solution and required some more time. Union Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee urged the TRS to wait for a while longer in hammering out a consensus.

Under intense pressure from his own party colleagues that the government is dithering with regard to the creation of Telengana state, Mr Rao and Mr Narendra were left with no option but to put in their papers as union ministers.

Sources disclosed that Mr Rao was keen to remain in the UPA government but the situation had become untenable as TRS legislators had been compelled to quit the Congress coalition arrangement in Hyderabad about a year back.

The Coordination Committee had also drafted a statement to be issued if Mr Rao agreed to wait a while so that opposition to the creation of a separate Telengana state can be whittled down. The Left, the DMK as well some other constituents of the UPA were against creating smaller states as these had been carved out on a linguistic basis.

Mr Rao desired assurances that if the government is biding for time then it should state categorically of coming forward with a Bill for creating a separate Telengana state in the winter session of Parliament.

No such assurance was forthcoming from Mr Mukherjee who met the Left leaders separately to find out if they had changed their stand. The Left leaders were categoric that they were against creation of smaller states. One of the Left constituents suggested that the Telengana issue be referred to the Second States Reorganisation Committee for an indepth study.

On its part, the Congress is not unduly worried about the TRS being out of the government or even out of the UPA fold. The TRS has five members in the Lok Sabha. The resignation of the two TRS ministers has created minor cracks in the edifice of the UPA.




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