Hyderabad/New Delhi, Jul 5: The campaign for separate Telangana snowballed today with TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao resigning his Lok Sabha seat as the number of MLAs from the region quitting the Andhra Pradesh Assembly touched the 100 mark.
Concerned over the development, Union Minister and Congress in-charge for Andhra Pradesh Ghulam Nabi Azad today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi and conveyed to them the sentiments of the lawmakers from the Telangana region.
Azad said the MLAs and MPs are “open to discussions” and that the Centre should start discussions on the issue and “those who have resigned have not closed their doors.”
Rao, whose Telangana Rashtrya Samithi is spearheading the statehood movement, and his colleague and actor Vijaya Shanti faxed their resignations from Lok Sabha to Speaker Meira Kumar, while two TDP MPs—Nama Nageswara Rao and Ramesh Rathod—met her in New Delhi and put in their papers.
100 of the total 119 legislators from the Telangana region have resigned since yesterday with more MLAs of Congress, TDP and all 11 legislators of the TRS quitting today. Four members of CPI and two from the BJP also resigned from the Assembly.
With this, the total number of Congress legislators who have resigned has risen to 42, including two from actor Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam Party. All 37 TDP MLAs from the region have resigned.
Ten members from Congress, including Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarashima, seven MIM MLAs and one each from Lok Satta and CPI(M) have not resigned.
No decision has been taken on the resignations either by the Speaker of the Assembly or the presiding officers in Parliament with an indication that an early decision is not likely.
Azad said he appreciates the sentiments of the lawmakers from the Telangana region and said they are willing to be engaged in the process.
“They told me that since the Centre did not take any decision they were under pressure from people to resign. They are ready for dialogue,” he said.
On whether the resignations would be accepted, he said since the Legislative Assembly and Parliament are independent bodies, “we have no say on this.”
However, the Minister said the Telangana issue is not a “time-bound” one.
Earlier, speaking to a television channel, Azad said an all-party meeting on the Telangana issue needs to be preceded by talks with the people of different regions of Andhra Pradesh and political parties.
“We won't jump straightaway to all-party meeting, we will have to first talk to people of Andhra Pradesh and people of other political parties and different regions,” he said. He said that those agitating for a separate Telangana want some process to start and “this is the time we have to take a decision on this issue”.
“It is a sensitive and a complex issue which requires wider consultations,” Azad said.
Congress sources said a decision on the issue is unlikely soon. Party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said: “We are ceased of the matter. An appropriate decision would be taken at an appropriate time.” PTI