Four dissident Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislators from Telangana quit on Sunday even as the region’s Congress and TDP legislators are set to resign on Monday seeking a separate state.
N. Janardhan Reddy, Harishwar Reddy, Venugopala Chary and Jogu Ramana sent the resignations to assembly Speaker N. Manohar from their hunger strike camp. They began a fast here, demanding unity among all parties and leaders fighting for separate state.
Ruling Congress MPs, state ministers and legislators reiterated that they will not go back on their resignations even as the party leadership continued its efforts for the second day to dissuade them.
Nine party MPs, including a Rajya Sabha member, paid their respects at the Telangana martyrs’ memorial in front of the state assembly building before leaving for Delhi to submit their resignations to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari on Monday.
The members of the state assembly, including ministers, will submit their papers to assembly speaker N. Manohar while the members of legislative council will hand over their resignations to council chairman K. Chakrapani at 11 a.m.
Legislators of the main opposition TDP held a separate meeting to chalk out their strategy.
TDP Telangana forum convenor E. Dayakar Rao told reporters that they would submit their resignations only after their counterparts from the Congress. He claimed that both the TDP MPs from the region are also ready to quit.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislators, however, have not taken any decision to resign as they want the Congress and TDP leaders to quit first.
Twelve out of 16 ministers from Telangana are also likely to quit. Mukesh Goud and D. Nagender, both ministers from Hyderabad, a part of Telangana, have refused to resign while home minister Sabita Indra Reddy who hails from Ranga Reddy district is also not ready to resign.
MP G. Vivek told reporters that they were continuing to receive phone calls from Delhi advising them not to resign but there is no question of going back.
According to Congress sources, the central leadership conveyed to Telangana leaders that it is ready for talks on the issue but the latter insisted that the central government stands by its promise made in 2009 to carve out separate Telangana state.
Hectic political activity is on in the ruling party circles as Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana were holding talks with Telangana ministers to persuade them not to take any step which precipitates matters.
The chief minister held talks with his deputy Damodar Rajanarasimha, who comes from Telangana, and other ministers, including G. Saraiah, Sudershan Reddy, Ramreddy Venkat Reddy and Sreedhar Babu.
Satyanarayana also held another meeting with Congress ministers to counsel restraint. According to party sources, he told them that resignations would only create a crisis and advised them to wait for the central government’s decision.
Telangana leaders, who also received a call from Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel on Saturday, remained firm.
They have given the leadership time till 11 a.m. on Monday to make an announcement on initiating the process for formation of separate state in accordance with the statement made by the central government on December 9, 2009.
“We are not children to be persuaded,” said senior leader and Rajya Sabha member Keshav Rao after MPs held a meeting at the residence of their colleague G. Vivek. He ruled out going back on resignations.
Meanwhile, an indefinite hunger strike by a group of students of Kaktiya University in Warangal entered fourth day on Sunday. They are demanding resignations of all public representatives of Telangana for separate state.
It is still not clear how many of the 12 Lok Sabha members and 50 legislators of the Congress from Telangana will quit on Monday.
The TDP has 37 legislators from Telangana in the 294-member assembly.
The Telangana region accounts for 119 assembly seats and 17 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.