Rift in TDP deepens over Telangana issue

June 20th, 2008 - 10:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, June 20 (IANS) The rift in Andhra Pradesh’s main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) over the issue of separate statehood to Telangana deepened Friday with veteran party leader Rajeswara Rao lending his voice to the Telangana demand. Ignoring party president N. Chandrababu Naidu’s directive to party leaders not to make their views public on the sensitive issue, Rao demanded that the party take a clear stand on the issue before the next year’s general elections and even warned that the failure to do so could damage the party’s interests.

Rao, a former communist leader and once a strong supporter of united Andhra Pradesh, said Telangana should become a separate state to undo the injustice done to the region for the past 50 years.

The party legislator, who is also deputy leader of the TDP in the state assembly, said a constructive dialogue on the issue was on in the party’s interests and a decision would be taken soon.

Rao’s comments came two days after the TDP’s core committee on the issue held its first meeting. After the meeting, Naidu said the party would take a stand on the issue after more deliberations.

Senior party leader T. Devender Goud, whose recent comments in favour of a separate Telangana triggered a storm in the party, was reportedly sidelined at the meeting of the five-member committee.

Goud later held secret talks with party colleagues, including Rajeswara Rao, and his followers to chalk out the future course of action.

Some party leaders from Telangana are also mounting pressure on Naidu to take a clear stand in favour of Telangana.

Naidu, who hails from Rayalseema region, had opposed bifurcation of the state when he was the chief minister from 1995 to 2004. After the TDP’s defeat in the last elections, Naidu said he would take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time.

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