TRS plunges into crisis as Chandrasekhara Rao quits (Lead)

June 3rd, 2008 - 10:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, June 3 (IANS) The crushing defeat in the Andhra Pradesh by-elections Tuesday plunged the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) into a crisis with K. Chandrasekhara Rao resigning as the party president. His decision triggered confusion in the sub-regional party as leaders and activists mounted pressure on him not to quit.

After much persuasion by senior leaders and legislators, Rao agreed to preside over the executive meeting Wednesday. The meeting was called to consider his resignation, but executive members have declared they will not accept it.

Earlier, KCR, as the TRS leader is popularly known, sent his resignation to party general secretary Madhusudhan Chary, owning moral responsibility for party’s defeat in the Lok Sabha and assembly by-elections.

TRS, which is fighting for separate statehood for the Telangana region, could retain only two of the four Lok Sabha seats and seven of 16 assembly seats in the elections, results of which were announced Sunday.

Shocked by the defeat in two Lok Sabha and nine assembly seats, KCR Sunday decided to quit as party president. However, party leaders and workers appealed him to continue leading the party.

Ever since results were announced, KCR has confined himself to his house and met only his close aides.

As news of his resignation spread Tuesday, a large number of party activists gathered outside his residence and at Telangana Bhavan, the TRS headquarters, appealing him not to quit.

Some TRS activists doused themselves with petrol and threatened to self-immolate if their leader did not withdraw the resignation. Tension prevailed at both the places as the police tightened security.

Executive members and legislators rushed to KCR’s house and tried to persuade him not to step down. Nagesh, a party legislator, told reporters that KCR had refused to reconsider his decision.

“There is no question of accepting his resignation. The separate state can be achieved under his leadership alone,” said Nagesh, who was re-elected in the by-elections.

“What will be the Telangana movement without his leadership,” asked another leader, N. Narasimha Reddy. “KCR is not responsible for the defeat. The Congress and TDP won the seats by misleading people and using money and liquor.”

Added Harish Rao, another TRS legislator and a nephew of KCR: “KCR will remain our leader. If he orders, we are again ready to resign. The posts were never dear to us.”

Harish, whose meeting with Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Monday raised eyebrows in some circles, alleged that a section of the media was creating confusion by carrying concocted stories about TRS.

He claimed that KCR’s move had nothing to do with his meeting with the chief minister. He clarified that he met the chief minister to request him to sanction a women’s degree college in his constituency.

Four TRS MPs and 16 legislators had resigned en masse in March, necessitating the by-elections, in order to oppose what they said was the ruling Congress party’s “betrayal” of the Telangana cause.

While the Congress wrested one Lok Sabha and five assembly seats, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party snatched one Lok Sabha and four assembly seats.

KCR himself scraped through in the Karimnagar Lok Sabha constituency by 15,000 votes, a sharp fall from the 220,000 majority he received only last year.

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