[Editorial – The New Indian Express]
With the resignation of two members of parliament and important state leaders, the Telangana issue has returned to haunt the Congress again. Congress MPs G Vivekananda and Manda Jagannadham and former state Congress chief K Kesava Rao have announced that they are joining the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to achieve statehood for Telangana as the Congress was in no mood to deliver on its promises. However, the Congress high command in New Delhi continues to drag its feet. Congress president Sonia Gandhi summoned Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy for a report on the implications of the latest resignation spree and held discussions with the members of the party core committee on Saturday without arriving at any decision.
AICC general secretary in-charge of the state, Ghulam Nabi Azad, on Sunday advised Andhra Pradesh Congress leaders to wait and promised that the party would take a decision on the issue this month. Though he claimed that this was because the party wanted to hold more consultations, it is clear that the Congress does not wish to stir up trouble during the budget session of the state assembly and the elections for local bodies due shortly. Ironically, this is not the first time senior party leaders had set deadlines only to let them lapse. After protracted discussions with all parties and stakeholders, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had last year set the deadline of December 28 to settle the issue.
The Congress and the government that it leads must realise that they have run out of excuses. In December 2009, then Union home minister P Chidambaram had told parliament that the process for formation of Telangana state would be started soon. Subsequently, the Srikrishna Commission it appointed to buy time, also submitted its report in January 2011. The Congress must now bite the bullet and take an unequivocal decision on creation of Telangana and the status of Hyderabad. Further procrastination will only lead to turbulence and deterioration of law and order in Andhra Pradesh.