The Congress is pitching its messages in troubled Andhra Pradesh in different ways. In Telangana, big hoardings are proclaiming that “Telangana is the gift of Sonia Amma”. But in Seemandhra, it is a different story.
Congress legislators in Seemandhra are letting it be known that the party was forced to yield to pressure from the TDP and the BJP. To prove their point, Congress leaders point to the letter that the TDP had given to the President of India supporting the demand for Telangana. The Congress leaders are apparently telling the agitators in Seemandhra that if the TDP and the BJP were to withdraw their support for a separate Telangana, then they (Congress leaders) would convince the party’s high command to retract on the Telangana issue.
A senior central leader of the BJP from Seemandhra said angry protesters were stoning the party offices and demanding that the BJP withdraw its support for a separate Telangana.
The BJP leader said Congress MPs and MLAs did not expect that the Congress high command and the UPA government would decide on Telangana. So, they did not prepare themselves or their constituents for the eventuality. They have been caught off the guard.
The BJP leader also said that the Congress is unlikely to go back on the Telangana issue. A Congress friend of his from the Telangana region had told him that Telangana was the decision of party president Sonia Gandhi and it cannot be reversed.
He also revealed that Hyderabad was a contentious issue because they were about 28 lakh people from the Seemandhra region settled in Hyderabad, and they needed an assurance of sorts about their future.
He also felt that the central government had recently announced a project of information technology worth around Rs 120 lakh crore in Hyderabad over the next 30 years. The right thing would be to assure that the Andhra and Rayalseema regions too will get part of the project.
It is the refusal of the UPA government to communicate with the people of Andhra that is causing the problem, he said. The BJP leader conceded that there were no easy solutions and even if he were to be in power, he would not have known how to deal with it.
Blackout enters 4th day in Seemandhra
Seemandhra got no respite from power blackouts for the fourth day on Wednesday while talks with striking government employees failed and a cyclone threat added to the worries of the AP government. Several parts of Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema continued to reel under power crisis as the electricity employees continued their strike in protest against the division of AP.
GoM on Telangana to meet tomorrow
Notwithstanding ongoing protests in Seemandhra, the Centre has expedited the process of creation of a Telangana state with the announcement that the first meeting of the GoM set up to look into the bifurcation of Andhra will be held on Friday. “The first meeting of the GoM on Telangana will be held day after Thursday,” home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.