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Telangana row sets Telugu Desam's house on fire

December 14, 2009 20:06 IST

Telugu Desam Party, the main opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, is finding itself caught in the vortex over the proposed bifurcation of the state and facing the threat of a split in its own ranks.

Piqued over hints from TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu that he might not be as committed to a separate Telangana state as earlier, several senior party leaders from the region have come out in the open in defiance.

On the one hand, TDP legislators in Andhra and Rayala Seema region have gone on fast unto death in protest against Telangana state and more are joining their ranks, the party's legislators from Telangana are threatening to take the warpath.

TDP's Anantapur MLA, Paritala Sunita, along with several of her supporters, launched her fast unto death on Monday. On Sunday, two TDP legislators D Umamaheshwara Rao and Ch Ramakotaiah launched their fast unto death in Vijaywada city.

Three TDP legislators from Telangana -- R Prakash Reddy, G Kamlakar and Ch Ramesh -- have sent their resignations while two senior leaders -- N Janardhan Reddy and E Dayakar Rao -- have threatened of serious consequences if Naidu backtracks on his promise of support to Telangana.

While Naidu told the media in Hyderabad on Monday that he was discussing the party's line on Telangana with the party functionaries, the Telugu Desam Legislature Party Deputy Floor Leader in the state assembly N Janardhan Reddy demanded that a separate unit of TDP should be set up in Telangana.

He made it clear that any backtracking on issue of Telangana will not be acceptable to the party's rank and file in Telangana region.

E Dayakar Rao, a legislator from Warangal said that if there is a change in the party's policy, the MLAs and MLCs from Telangana region will meet and take a decision. He suggested that Chandrababu Naidu should form two different party units for coastal Andhra and Rayala Seema and he should continue as the national president of the party.

"I have full confidence in Chandrababu that he will remain committed to Telangana," he said.

Adding to the Naidu's headaches are the various other voices coming up from the party units in different parts of Andhra. While the party unit in Telangana was united on the issue of a separate state, Andhra leaders were completely divided on what they want.

While leaders from Krishna to Nellore are demanding an integrated Andhra Pradesh, leaders in Rayala Seema are demanding Greater Rayala Seema and leaders in North Coastal Andhra Pradesh are in favour of another separate state of Kalinga Andhra, bordering Orissa.

To avoid complications, Naidu is trying to revert to the pre-2009 position of pro-integrated Andhra Pradesh. He is likely to take the line that the anger and anguish of the people of Andhra and Rayala Seema is much beyond anybody's expectations and the issue should be thoroughly debated and discussed at an all-party meeting.

He openly admitted that in 28-year-long history of TDP, he was facing the most serious problem of indiscipline, as legislators from both Telangana and Andhra were unwilling to listen to him and withdraw the resignations.

He has already triggered the debate by saying, "Before 2009 elections, we adopted a pro Telangana resolution, but I did not get the mandate from the people. We were defeated. In 2009 elections, we gave 45 seats to TRS but it won only 10 seats and lost 35 seats,"

Through this Naidu has sought to infer that the TRS or the demand for Telangana did not have the mass support in the region and that the people at large in Andhra and Rayala Seema were strongly against the division of the state.

Another suicide

A 30-year-old man slit his throat at Prodattur in Kadapa district to protest against the move to create Telangana state, IGP AR Anuradha informed on Monday.

On the whole, protestors held 'rasta roko' (road block) at 46 places and 'rail roko' (train block) at 12 places and targeted several government offices.

Briefing the media, the senior police official said the protestors' targets included a BSNL office in Rajahmundry, a Tehsildar's office and an ambulance in Tirupati, a post office in Kadapa and several buses in Amalapuram.

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad