This Article is From Dec 27, 2010

With Telangana fast, Congress leaders defy Chief Minister

With Telangana fast, Congress leaders defy Chief Minister
Hyderabad: The Telangana issue is generating a new wave of political strife in Andhra Pradesh - it's pitting Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy against other senior members of his own party, the Congress.

Congress MPs, state ministers and MLAs from Telangana have decided to go on a hunger strike unless police cases filed against student protesters are dropped. The students facing charges are largely from Osmania University. Their campus turned into Ground Zero earlier this year in the battle over whether a new state of Telangana should be created. The students are aggressively in favour of this.

Last December, Home Minister P Chidambaram said that a state of Telangana had been sanctioned. The government had been informed that political parties within Andhra Pradesh were in favour of a new state. However, after Chidambaram's announcement, there was a huge backlash from MPs and MLAs from non-Telangana regions against the bifurcation of the state. So local political parties reversed out of their original stand. The union government then  set up the Sri Krishna Committee to talk to different representatives on the issue.

"If the government withdraws the police cases against students by evening, it is fine. Otherwise, Telangana Congress MPs would go on fast from tomorrow. It is a Gandhian fast,"
Congress Rajya Sabha member K Keshav Rao said on Sunday night.

Expressing confidence that the Centre would concede the separate Telangana demand, he said Congress MPs, MLAs and others are prepared to quit their posts in support of the demand.

"We are fully confident that Telangana statehood will be realised. Since there is no compromise on this issue, all MLAs, MPs and even MLCs will submit their resignations (if the demand is not accepted)," he said.