TRS protests move to set up state reorganisation panel

February 28th, 2008 - 10:39 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Hyderabad, Jan 11 (IANS) The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) - the regional party fighting for separate statehood for Telangana region - Friday resorted to blockade of roads and railways against the central government’s proposal to constitute the second States Reorganisation Commission (SRC). The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is proposing to set up the second SRC to look into the demands for separate states, including for Telangana in Andhra Pradesh and Vidarbha in neighbouring Maharashtra.

Hundreds of TRS activists took to streets in various parts of the region, blocking vehicular and rail traffic to protest the delay in statehood to Telangana.

The TRS and other parties, which have been fighting for a separate Telangana state, have opposed the centre’s move and termed it as “yet another attempt to cheat the people of the region” by delaying the process of formation of a separate state.

The blockade in the state capital and nine other districts of Telangana disrupted the movement of vehicles and trains. It is the first phase of protests the TRS has planned.

Led by legislator N. Narasimha Reddy, TRS activists blocked traffic in the busy RTC crossroads in Hyderabad. They were shouting slogans against the Congress party and Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. The police arrested Reddy and others to clear the blockade, but that caused tension in the area.

Seeking to use the proposal on the second SRC to infuse new life into the movement for a Telangana state, the TRS has announced that it would hold sit-ins across the region Jan 17 and a public meeting at Karimnagar Jan 24.

TRS president and former union minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao recalled that it was at an election meeting in Karimnagar that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had promised to form separate state in deference to the sentiments of the region’s people.

The TRS, which is looking to intensify the movement ahead of next year’s elections, has not ruled out en masse resignations of its members of parliament and state assembly.

“We are ready to sacrifice our posts for the cause of a separate Telangana,” said the TRS chief to reporters here Friday.

The TRS had fought 2004 elections in alliance with the Congress and won five Lok Sabha seats and 26 assembly seats. It joined the Congress-led coalition governments in the state and at the centre, but pulled out two years ago to protest the delay in carving out a separate Telangana state.

The move to constitute the second SRC has given an opportunity to the TRS to regroup and strengthen as the party had weakened in recent months due to revolt of its 10 members of assembly and expulsion of Rao’s deputy and former union minister A. Narendra for his alleged involvement in a human smuggling scandal.

Telangana, which comprises Hyderabad and nine other districts, accounts for 42 percent of the state’s area and 40 percent of the state’s 77 million population.

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