Seven Congress Members of Parliament (MPs) will be heading to Delhi tomorrow morning with resignation letters addressed to the Lok sabha speaker but will hand it over to Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
These MPs of the ruling party are bearing the brunt of anger at the Centre's failure to deliver on the promise that it would take a decision on statehood for Telangana by January 28. On Sunday, a day before the deadline that Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had set last month, senior minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government would need more consultations on the politically and emotionally sensitive issue.
Madhu Yaski Goud, a Congress MP from Telangana said, "They are attacking our houses, they are abusing our families, they are threatening that no MP, MLA or minister can enter the villages. We discussed and we will bring it to the notice of our leader.''
There were huge protests in the state yesterday, with pro-Telangana protesters in Hyderabad clashing with the police as they made their way to Indira Park, where the Telangana Joint Action Commitee had asked activists to gather. Political parties like the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and BJP, which unequivocally support splitting the state too were part of the protest, where K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who heads the TRS, said, "We are demanding the resignation of all the Telangana Congress public representatives. When Andhra leaders can threaten, why not us. If they don't quit, they will face the wrath of the people.''
While the Congress' Telanagana MPs are slated to resign tomorrow, ministers from the region in the Kiran Kumar Reddy government in the state have so far said they will not quit. The Congress goverment in Andhra Pradesh has a razor-thin majority - 148 MLAs with the halfway mark in the 294-seat House at 147 - and the resignation of even two legislators would threaten its stability.
Like some other political parties, the Congress is deeply divided on the issue in the state. Leaders from the Telangana region want the state split; those from coastal Andhra or the Rayalaseema regions are opposed to it.
Angry pro-Telangana activists have accused the Congress of betraying the people of the region. A lawyer has filed a petition in a Ranga Reddy court yesterday, alleging that Home Minister Shinde and Finance Minister P Chidambaram had "cheated" the people by going back on their word. The court has ordered the police to register a case.
In December 2009, after a lengthy hunger fast by KCR found huge support, then Home Minister P Chidambaram had, in a surprise midnight announcement, said Telangana would be a state on its own. Violent protests in non-Telangana areas and a chorus of criticism by their leaders surprised the Centre. Many parties which had backed the division of the state rescinded their support and the decision to create a new state was suspended.
Last month, representatives of eight parties in the state were invited to Delhi for an all-party meeting by Mr Shinde, who promised a decision by January 28. But yesterday, Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Centre will consult again with leaders from the three regions of Andhra Pradesh. "There is no deadline, but the talks will be held as soon as possible," he said.
Critics of the Central government attribute its indecision on calculations for next year's general elections. Andhra Pradesh, which sends 42 members to the Lok Sabha, will play a starring role in deciding whether the Congress returns to power - 17 of the state's 42 seats are in Telangana. It is wary of the obvious popularity of former Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy, who founded his own party in 2011. Mr Reddy's father, YSR, who was chief minister when he died in a helicopter crash in 2009, was given all the credit for the Congress winning 156 seats in that year's general elections