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Telangana Congress MPs, MLAs firm on quitting

Hyderabad: Making it clear that they are not going to backtrack, Telangana Congress MPs, MLAs and MLCs today asserted that they would submit their resignations en masse tomorrow even as the party counselled patience, asking them to ”rise over emotions and view things dispassionately”.

“We are not quitting the party. We have decided to resign for the sake of Telangana. We humbly request again that Telangana be given,” Ponnam Prabhakar, Karimnagar MP, told reporters in Hyderabad.

“As per the collective decision taken on July 1 by Congress MLAs, ministers, MLCs and MPs, we (Telangana Congress MPs) are going to Delhi. We have decided to submit our resignations between 11 am and 12 noon tomorrow,” he said.

In Delhi, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, “geopolitical gerrymandering especially when it pertains to proposed redrawing of a state boundary, is a very complex, intricate and sensitive business”.

He said the “first requisite of such an exercise is patience and patience as conflicting aspirations of various stakeholders have to be reconciled in a harmonious manner. It is especially true in the Andhra/Telangana matter”.

“It becomes the responsibility of the elected representatives of the people to rise over emotions and view things dispassionately from both the state and the national perspective, keeping the best interests in mind,” he said.

In a joint statement issued in Delhi last night, 9 Congress MPs said they would meet Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar at 11 AM tomorrow to tender their resignation. Rajya Sabha member and senior Congress leader K Keshav Rao will meet chairman Hamid Ansari to put in his papers.

The legislators have threatened to quit unless the Centre initiates steps for the formation of a separate Telangana state, on the lines of the December 9, 2009 announcement made by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.

Around 50 MLAs, 11 MPs and 16 MLCs of Congress are from Telangana. The Kiran Kumar Reddy government has 15 ministers from the Telangana region. There are 294 seats in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

Keshav Rao said there is no compromise on the issue of resignations.
The Telangana Congress leaders met in Hyderabad earlier in the day to discuss the situation arising out of their decision to quit en masse.

The assertion by the Telangana Congress leaders to resign came even as the Chief Minister and state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana continued hectic efforts to dissuade the lawmakers from quitting.

Satyanarayana has called the Telangana leaders for a meeting while urging them to wait a little longer as it was a “sensitive” issue and the sentiments of all sections of people in the state needed to be looked into.

For the Telangana Congress leaders, any retraction without a firm assurance from the leadership could result in their facing the the ire of pro-Telangana protesters including students.

On December 9, 2009, the Centre had announced that the process for formation of a separate Telangana state would be initiated. This had come after after 11 days of fasting by Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrashekhar Rao and massive violent protests in the Telangana region.

The Srikrishna Commission set up by the Centre on the Telangana issue, had presented six options.

Union Minister and in-charge of party affairs in the state Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was in Hyderabad on July 1, had made it clear that a decision on Telangana issue cannot be taken in haste as it had a national bearing.

Telugu Desam MLAs from Telangana have also announced that they would submit resignations soon after the ruling party leaders did so.

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