Crisis in Andhra as Telangana MPs, MLAs quit enmasse (Roundup)

July 4th, 2011 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana New Delhi/Hyderabad, July 4 (IANS) The movement for separate statehood to Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh entered a crucial phase Monday with the mass resignations of MPs, state ministers and legislators of the Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) while the Joint Action Committee (JAC) spearheading the movement called for a 48-hour shutdown beginning Tuesday.

On a day of fast-paced developments, seven MPs of the Congress party from the region submitted their resignations to Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar while Rajya Sabha member K. Keshava Rao gave his resignation to house chairman Hamid Ansari.

In an attempt to build pressure on the party-led United Progressive Alliance government to concede their demand for creation of a separate Telangana state, seven out of 12 Lok Sabha members of Congress submitted their resignations while both members of TDP said they would also put in their papers.

Karimnagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar told reporters that two other Lok Sabha members, Madhu Goud Yaskhi and Suresh Shetkar, have faxed their resignations.

Another MP Sarvey Satyanarayana has refused to resign saying he would do so only after Union Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy quits. MP from Secunderabad Anjan Kumar Yadav is also reluctant to resign.

In Hyderabad, 79 members of the assembly including 11 ministers submitted their resignations, plunging the state into a crisis.

Four rebel TDP legislators had quit Sunday.

Those who resigned Monday include all 33 of TDP, 40 of Congress and two of Praja Rajyam Party (PRP).

Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Raja Narasimha and three other ministers have not resigned. The ministers who submitted their resignations include Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy.

While five ministers personally submitted their resignations to deputy speaker Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, six others including the home minister sent their papers.

In all, 10 legislators of the Congress party from Telangana are yet to submit their resignations.

Speaker N. Manohar, who is in the US, will take a decision on the resignations after his return. The resignations, if accepted, may reduce the Congress government to minority.

In the 294-member assembly, Congress has 174 members, including 18 from the PRP, which merged with the ruling party recently.

Telangana accounts for 119 legislators in the 294-member assembly. The Congress has 52 members (including two of PRP), TDP 37 and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) 11.

Senior Minister K. Jana Reddy told reporters that their resignations were not aimed at creating a constitutional or political crisis but to achieve a separate state in tune with the aspirations of the people.

“Today is United States’ Independence Day and we hope today will also become Telangana’s Independence Day,” the minister said outside the assembly building.

Jana Reddy, who later left for Delhi for talks with the central leadership, claimed that their fight was for self-rule and self-respect of the Telangana region.

Twelve Congress members of the legislative council and three of TDP have also submitted their resignations to council chairperson K. Chakrapani.

The legislators said the resignations were aimed at pressurising the central government to carve out a separate Telangana state as promised by it on Dec 9, 2009.

The Congress leaders resigned despite the efforts of the central and state leadership of the party over last three days to dissuade them.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi that a final decision on the “extremely sensitive and complex” issue was yet to be taken.

“The central government’s view will be made known after the consultation process is over. We have to bring everyone on board. There is a strong view of a large number of people. We are yet to take a final decision,” Chidambaram told reporters.

“This is an extremely sensitive and complex issue. We will try to expedite… One should have understanding and patience. Especially, the media should have understanding and patience,” Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram said the government would convene an all-party meeting immediately after the views of all parties are known. Two of the parties have not yet finalised their views on the separate statehood issue, he said.

However, his statement evoked sharp reaction not just from TRS but also from his own party ranks. MP Manda Jagannatham termed his remarks incomprehensible.

Alleging that the centre is making light of the mass resignations, the JAC, which is spearheading the Telangana movement, called for a 48-hour Telangana shutdown beginning Tuesday.

TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao criticized Chidambaram for reacting to the resignations in a casual manner. He announced that the protest in the region would continue till the central government agrees to initiate the process for formation of separate state.

JAC also called for rail blockade in Telangana on July 8 and 9 and cook-and-eat protest on roads on July 10.

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