Resignations of top leaders rock TDP (Second Lead)

June 23rd, 2008 - 9:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, June 23 (IANS) The issue of separate statehood to Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh rocked the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) with senior leaders and former ministers T. Devender Goud and E. Peddi Reddy Monday resigning from the party. Protesting the delay in taking a stand in favour of separate Telangana state, Goud sent his resignation to party president N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Goud, who served as home minister when the TDP was in power, was unhappy with the party leadership for not taking a pro-Telangana stand.

His personal assistant delivered a three-page resignation letter to the NTR Trust Bhavan, the party headquarters. Goud also resigned as member of the state legislative assembly.

Soon after, Peddi Reddy, also a former minister, sent his resignation to the party president.

Goud, who was also a member of TDP politburo, said in the evening that he would now work to achieve the goal of separate Telengana state. He said he quit TDP while respecting the wishes of Telangana people.

Addressing a large number of followers, students and Telangana supporters who gathered outside his residence to hail his decision, he said he was hurt by the injustice meted out to region for last five decades.

“The people of Telangana are being treated as second-class citizens,” he said.

Goud, a backward class leader and three-time legislator from the Medchal constituency in neighbouring Ranga Reddy district, said he would announce his future course of action on Tuesday.

His resignation has come as a major blow to the TDP before the next year’s polls to the assembly and Lok Sabha.

The development also came as a major boost to the Telangana movement with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) hailing the resignations and calling for a united struggle to achieve the formation of a separate state.

Several TDP leaders, demanding a pro-Telangana stand, were also likely to resign. Senior leader and legislator Kadiam Srihari, party vice-president G. Sukhender Reddy, former union minister S. Venugopalachary and former legislator Muthyam Reddy are expected to put in their papers, according to party sources.

Srihari said if the party failed to take a stand in favour of a separate state he would chalk out his future course of action in consultation with the people of his constituency. Another senior leader, Ch. Rajeswara Rao, backed Goud.

The resignations shocked the TDP at a time when Naidu was on a state-wide tour.

Putting up a brave front, Naidu said in Srikakulam that the resignations would have no impact on the party. “The party is above individuals,” he said and recalled that resignation of K. Chandrasekhara Rao had no impact.

Rao had quit TDP in 2001 and floated TRS to revive the five-decade-old movement for separate statehood to Telangana, comprising 10 district including Hyderabad.

Goud had raised his voice in favour of a separate Telangana state earlier this month.

Ignoring Naidu’s directive to party leaders not to make their views on the sensitive issue public, Goud, Peddi Reddy and some others demanded that the party take a pro-Telangana stand before next year’s polls.

Goud and his supporters were unhappy over Naidu loyalists “humiliating” him. The senior leader was also sidelined in the first meeting of TDP’s core committee on Telangana, held in Vizianagaram district June 18.

Goud was a member of the five-member committee formed in April to look into the issue.

Naidu, who strongly opposed bifurcation of the state while in power from 1995 to 2004, formed the committee under pressure from Telangana leaders.

Meanwhile, TRS hailed the resignations of Goud and Peddi Reddy. TRS chief Rao spoke to Goud over phone. “The time has come for a joint struggle for separate Telangana,” said Rao, who claimed that resignations were a result of his party’s struggle.

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy said resignations were an internal matter of TDP.

He said the development would have no impact on the ruling Congress. However, the resignation of the TDP leaders set off activity among Telangana leaders in the ruling party.

Senior Congress leader and former union minister G. Venkatswamy said resignations were proof of the “Telangana self-respect”. Congress MP Madhu Yashki Goud said the resignations of TDP leaders would put pressure on the ruling party to take a stand on the Telangana issue.

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