Political uncertainty comes as boon for pro-Telangana party

July 9th, 2008 - 1:21 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Hyderabad, July 9 (IANS) The crisis that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is facing following the Left parties’ decision to withdraw support has come as a boon to Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), which has two members in the Lok Sabha. As every vote becomes crucial for the government’s survival, the sub-regional party is trying to use the situation to its advantage by demanding firm assurance for the formation of a separate Telangana state in return for the two votes.

At a time when the TRS was down after the crushing defeat in recent by-elections, the political instability has brought it back on centre-stage. As UPA leaders try to woo TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, the latter has set a condition that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh give a firm assurance on starting the process for creation of a separate state.

Union Agriculture Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar Tuesday spoke to Rao over phone, seeking TRS votes for the government. Rao said he explained to Pawar how the Congress had failed to fulfil its promise of creation of a separate Telangana state after the 2004 elections.

This time, the TRS wants a firm assurance from the prime minister himself. “The time has come for a decision on creation of a separate state because the communist parties (whose opposition to the formation of Telangana was being cited by Congress party as the reason for the delay) are no longer there,” Rao told reporters.

The TRS, which fought the 2004 elections in alliance with the Congress party, had won five Lok Sabha and 26 assembly seats and joined the Congress-led coalition government at the centre and in the state. Protesting over the delay in carving out the separate state, it pulled out of both governments and withdrew support two years ago.

The TRS strength in the Lok Sabha reduced to four last year when the party expelled Rao’s deputy A. Narendra for his alleged role in an emigration racket. The party also suffered a setback with 10 state legislators staging a revolt against Rao.

In an attempt to mount pressure on the Congress and other parties over the Telangana issue, all four MPs and 16 state legislators of the party resigned en-mass in March this year to seek fresh mandate. However, the move boomeranged as the party could retain only two Lok Sabha and seven assembly seats in the May 29 by-elections.

Shocked by the defeat, Rao put in his resignation from the post of party president but withdrew it following appeals from party ideologue Jaishankar and other intellectuals.

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