Hyderabad: Keshav Rao, the Congress leader from the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, has quit the party and joined the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
"The Congress did give a big blow to the people because for the last nine years, they have been indulging in some kind of procrastination. The party high command could have done something, but they didn't. Most lawmakers want Telangana, but neither the Chief Minster nor the Congress is willing to listen. We want Telangana and there is no compromise on that," Mr Rao told NDTV.
Mr Rao also said that many more Congress leaders in Andhra Pradesh will follow suit soon.
Along with Mr Rao, Lok Sabha members G Vivek and Manda Jagannatham also quit the Congress after a meeting with TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao in Hyderabad.
The Congress leaders said they would formally join TRS at a public meeting in Hyderabad June 2.
"Two Members of Parliament belonging to Congress have quit along with Keshav Rao. They have done every efforts to bring out the issue of Telangana. All three of them decided to join Telangana Rashtra Samithi," said TRS leader KT Rama Rao.
Mr Rao, along with two other Congress leaders, had earlier warned the Congress to decide on the issue of separate statehood for Telangana, failing which they will quit the party.
"I don't know why Keshav Rao and others have quit the party. I will talk to Keshav Rao who is my friend," Congress spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das said.
The BJP slammed the Congress for betraying the leaders. "This Congress-led government has a habit of betraying its own people and we have seen many examples of that. The government created an illusion about Telangana and because of that, Mr Keshav Rao and others quit the Congress in frustration," said Meenakshi Lekhi, spokesperson, BJP.
The leaders have been in the forefront of the Telangana agitation. They held a sit-in the premises of the Parliament during the recently-concluded session.
Out of 17 Lok Sabha members from Telangana, Congress has 12 MPs. Three of them are ministers at the Centre while two others have never been part of pro-Telangana group.