Hyderabad: Opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday accused the Centre of "betrayal" on the Telangana issue and threatened to intensify their agitation for a separate state. Some Congress leaders were also critical of the statements made by Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad that the "consultation process" on Telangana statehood would continue and a final decision on it may take a little more time.
Effectively, the Union Home Minister's deadline for announcing the Centre's decision on the statehood issue ends on Monday, but his statement, coupled with that of Azad, came hours ahead and left many "disappointed". "This is nothing but putting off the Telangana issue permanently," Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) MLA T Harish Rao said.
The Congress has betrayed people of the region yet again, he said adding they would now carry the statehood struggle forward by primarily targeting the Congress ministers and other leaders from the region. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) senior leader Motkupalli Narasimhulu noted that Azad and Shinde's statements only made it clear that the Congress would not grant statehood to Telangana. "People will not accept their statements. There is no need for further talks on the issue," he said.
"This is nothing but putting off the Telangana issue permanently," Telangana Rashtra Samiti MLA T Harish Rao said.
BJP state president G Kishan Reddy called upon people to "see the end" of Congress, while CPI state secretary K Narayana termed the Congress duo's statements as "suicidal". "Their claims amount to insulting all the political parties in the state and the entire political system as well. Looks like the Congress will not sleep till Andhra Pradesh is fully burnt," Narayana lashed out.
The flip-flops would spell doom for the Congress in all regions of the state, he warned. Congress MP Gutta Sukhender Reddy dubbed Azad and Shinde's statements as "meaningless" and asserted that the delay in taking a decision on the statehood issue would do no good for the party.
TDP politburo member Yanamala Ramakrishnudu lashed out at the Centre and the Congress for seeking to "complicate" the vexatious issue further by delaying a decision. "The Congress is only trying to create further wedge between people of three regions of the state," he alleged.
State Panchayat Raj Minister K Jana Reddy, on the other hand, claimed they received signals from New Delhi that the Congress high command was about to engage them in talks on the Telangana issue. Once a strong votary of Telangana, Jana Reddy said there was "sincerity" in both Azad and Shinde's announcement.
"We are confident that Telangana state will be formed soon. The people s desire will be fulfilled. Everyone should co-operate with the Centre is finding a solution to the problem," he added. A meeting of Congress ministers, MPs, MLCs and MLAs from Telangana would soon be held to discuss the issue, Jana Reddy said.
The Komatireddy brothers MP Rajagopal Reddy and MLA Venkat Reddy did not hide their displeasure at the Union Ministers' statements and said it would spell the death knell for Congress. Former Congress MP K Keshava Rao, who has been leading the Congress MPs in raising a revolt on Telangana, merely said he was "disappointed" that a decision on the statehood issue has been put off once again.