New Delhi/Hyderabad, 2 Aug (PTI): Rumblings within Congress over its decision to form Telangana grew today with its seven MPs, a state minister and seven MLAs from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions quitting amid indications that some more are likely to follow suit.
However, the party apparently managed to dissuade four Union Ministers from resigning. HRD Minister Pallam Raju was one of them who offered to quit but was asked to stay on.
Upset over the party’s decision taken on Tuesday, seven Congress MPs and four union ministers from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions held marathon meeting here late last night to evolve strategy against formation of Telangana decision.
The seven MPs — six Lok Sabha members and a Rajya Sabha member — then went to Parliament this morning and submitted their resignations.
The Lok Sabha members who put in their papers were A Sai Prathap (Rajampet constituency), Anantha Venkatarami Reddy (Anantapur) C V Harsha Kumar (Amalapuram-SC), Vundavalli Arun Kumar (Rajahmundry), Lagadapati Rajagopal (Vijayawada) and S P Y Reddy (Nandyal). They submitted their resignations to Lok Sabha Secretary General T K Vishwanathan.
The MPs said that three more Lok Sabha members from the state — Sabbam Hari (Anakapalli), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (Ongole) and Rayapati Sambasiva Rao (Guntur) — had also faxed their resignations. Congress has 31 members in the House from Andhra Pradesh.
Rajya Sabha member KVP Ramachandra Rao tendered his resignation to Rajya Sabha Secretary General Shamsher K Sheriff. Congress has 13 members in the Upper House.
In Hyderabad, Municipal Administration Minister M Maheedhar Reddy resigned today, taking to four the number of ministers who put in their papers since yesterday.
Congress MLA Dronamraju Srinivas also tendered resignation and another half-a-dozen MLAs also claimed to have quit.
The total number of Congress MLAs who resigned since yesterday went up to 20 while about 15 others claimed to have submitted their resignations to PCC president B Satyanarayana.
Four Union Ministers — Pallam Raju besides Ministers of State D Purandeswari, Killi Kruparani and JD Seelam — were said to be among those intending to protest against the Telangana decision. Raju had already offered to quit.
They met AICC in-charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh after which they decided “to continue to hold fort” as they were assured that a high level committee would be set up to address the grievances of people from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.
The ministers were believed to have been assured that they would be made members of the Committee.
The resignations by MPs came a day after Congress Union Ministers and unhappy MPs from Andhra and Rayalseema regions held a meeting at the residence of KVP Ramachandra Rao late last night.
At the meeting, the Union Ministers are understood to have counselled the MPs not to resign saying that after the Congress high-command’s decision on Telangana formation, it would focus on Andhra’s future development.
However, the MPs felt that the situation has still not gone out of hand and by tendering their resignations, they can force the government to hold back its decision.
Some of them were also of the view that the issue could be raised effectively in Parliament by stalling its proceedings when the Monsoon Session begins from Monday.
Congress, however, sought to put up a brave face in the midst of a storm in the party over the creation of Telangana even as its seven MPs, a state minister and seven MLAs from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions quit amid indications that some more are likely to follow suit.
“Congress believes in democracy…the party would sort out its internal matter. It will be settled,” party spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das told reporters.
Speaking separately, JD(U) President Sharad Yadav, whose party supported the creation of Telangana, also downplayed the rumblings over the decision in non-Telangna regions of Andhra Pradesh and demands of smaller states coming from other regions.
Yadav said he favours the creation of second State Reorganization Commission to look into these issues but disappoved of “demands for creation of states even when the regions have only three to four districts.”
“It is not good to rake up tension in society. New states should be formed only after due consideration and if they fulfill the criteria. You see creation of every new state or having a common capital brings its own set of problems.
Water dispute between Punjab and Haryana are yet to be settled with Chandigarh as their comman capital,” Yadav said.