M A I N   N E W S

Jaipal Reddy lobbies for Telangana with PM
Speaker Meira Kumar to take decision on resignations before monsoon session
Vibha Sharma/Suresh Dharur

New Delhi, July 8
After publicly staying away from the Telengana imbroglio all this while, Union Petroleum Minister and senior Congress leader from Andhra Pradesh S Jaipal Reddy today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is believed to have pressed for creation of separate Telangana.

The resignations in support of the demand for a separate Telangana have put the Congress-led coalition at the Centre under pressure over deciding the contentious issue. While the Congress has decided not to succumb to any pressure for immediate political gains, the party MPs have also refused to take back their resignations.

Of the 13 resignations, nine are of Congress MPs and two each of TDP and TRS members. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar is expected to take a decision on the resignation of Telangana MPs before the monsoon session of Parliament, which begins on August 1. The Speaker, when asked whether a decision on the resignations would be taken before the upcoming session, responded by saying: “I suppose so. Yes”. She said the resignations were being examined but did not respond on whether it was a voluntary act or just a drama under pressure from the people. “There are rules that govern resignation of MPs. I will follow those,” she said.

The Telangana statehood demand gained momentum this week after MLAs and MPs, cutting across party lines, submitted their resignations. Reddy, who represents Chelvela Lok Sabha seat in Telangana, is believed to have conveyed to the Prime Minister the sentiments of the people of the region that carving out a separate state appeared to be the only solution.

After the 40-minute meeting, he said he had given complete details of the present situation in the region and conveyed to the Prime Minister his assessment and view in the matter, but refused to divulge any further details “This is between me and my Prime Minister. I have expressed the view clearly and unambiguously. However, as a Cabinet minister I will not be able to disclose what I mentioned to the Prime Minister,” he said.

He said everybody was worried about the Telangana situation and he was also worried. “I did not discuss the question of President’s rule at all. Only conveyed my assessment of the situation,” he said. 

Even though Jaipal Reddy hasn’t quit, the meeting assumes significance as those who have resigned have been keeping in touch with him.

Meanwhile, the Telangana movement appears to have suffered a setback after the move to bring together the statehood supporters of all political hues under a single umbrella fell flat.

Despite pursuing a common goal, the Telangana leaders of the ruling Congress and Opposition Telugu Desam Party are unwilling to work together for fear of yielding political ground to the rival party.

The unity move was initiated by the convener of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) Prof M Kodandaram, an academician who is seen as a key ideologue of the statehood movement. He had announced yesterday that consultations would be held with the MPs and MLAs of all parties, who had resigned for the statehood cause, to chalk out a common action plan.

The TJAC has even suspended the agitation programme, including the two-day “rail roko”, to facilitate the meeting of all the elected representatives who had quit their posts and formulation of a joint strategy to carry forward the movement.

However, the Telangana leaders of both the Congress and the TDP virtually turned down the proposal and decided to chart their own course. “We do not want to take dictations from anyone. We know how to achieve our statehood goal,” senior Congress MLA R Damodar Reddy said.

On their part, the Telangana TDP MLAs went ahead with their “bus yatra” in the region, ignoring TJAC’s appeal to postpone it.

Many Congress leaders argue that TJAC is being remote-controlled by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and its president K Chandrasekhar Rao. When it was launched, the TJAC was aimed to serve as a common platform for pro-Telangana leaders from all parties. But, over a period of time, it has come to be dominated by TRS and a rag-tag group of civil society organisations. 





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