S Jaipal Reddy may quit Union cabinet, fight for Telangana

HYDERABAD: Union science and technology minister S Jaipal Reddy, who has been surreptitiously stoking the fire of separate Telangana, seems to have come to the conclusion that it is time he took the lead.

His aides say that Jaipal, who is sulking after being shifted out of the petroleum ministry to the relatively less important science and technology at the behest of a powerful business group, is planning to take the plunge into the Telangana movement. “He will quit the cabinet and join the agitating T-Congress MPs,” said his confidant and Nalgonda MP Gutha Sukhender Reddy.

Though Jaipal says in public that talking state politics does not square with his stature in national politics, his 8, Tees January Marg residence has always been the bastion for Telangana politics, especially, for the aggressive groupe of Congress MPs from the region.

The Congress leaders from the region make it a point to meet him and take his advice before meeting the party president or Prime Minister or any senior AICC functionary on anything related to Telangana.

In fact, the Telangana MPs have always formulated their strategies from the residence of Jaipal Reddy and he has been under pressure from the Congress leaders from the region for some time now to quit as Union minister and lead the T-Congress fight for a separate state.

Jaipal’s direct participation in the movement, many in the T-Congress argue, would give new impetus to the movement and eclipse the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). Jaipal, who is on the verge of retirement from electoral politics, has been ambivalent about taking a decision to quit the cabinet.

According to MPs Sukhender Reddy and Ponnam Prabhakar, Jaipal Reddy is ready to quit the post and work for Telangana. “We talked to him. He told us that he would not hesitate to quit the cabinet to join hands with the party MPs from the region,” Gutha told the media on Saturday.

If the Centre does not keep the promise made by Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde that a decision on Telangana will be taken in a month’s time, Jaipal Reddy would not continue as Union minister, Gutha said. “He made it clear to us that he would not leave the party, but will not continue as minister,” he said.

According to the MPs, all the Congress MPs who have been in the forefront of the Telangana movement will also resign from their positions. In the same breath, Ponnam and Gutha also said that they would not hesitate to part ways with the Congress in case statehood was not accorded to their region as per the announcement of the Centre.

Dismissing the reports that the Centre might announce a financial package along with a development council for Telangana, the MPs made it clear that they would accept nothing short of statehood to their region. [Times of India]

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