Hyderabad, Jul 19: Adopting a tough stance,Congress lawmakers from Telangana region on Monday decided not to accept an invitation from AICC leader Ghulam Nabi Azad to come to New Delhi for talks until he withdraws his comments that are perceived to be anti-Telangana.
“Telangana people are hurt by his (Azad) comments that consensus and assembly resolution are necessary for formation of separate state and that the Telangana issue should begin from zero.
“We cannot accept his invitation until he withdraws his comments. He needs to clarify. Then only, our coordination committee will sit and decide,” Congress MP G Sukhender Reddy told reporters here.
He was speaking after a meeting of Telangana Congress MPs, MLAs, MLCs and mandal-level leaders from the region. The meeting was attended by nine MPs, four Andhra Pradesh ministers, 15 MLAs and seven MLCs. Noting that the Telangana Congress leaders are not averse to talks with the party high command or the Centre, Congress Rajya Sabha member K Keshav Rao, however, said the “unanimous mood” at meeting was against accepting Azad's invitation.
“The unanimous mood seems to be that we should not joint the talks. I think, as far as the leadership is concerned, the steering committee met this morning and felt that we should go to talks. But we must make others realise, convey to the high command, the hurt feelings of Telanganites here,” Keshav Rao said.
The leaders were referring to Azad's statement in Beijing that the Telangana issue cannot move an “inch” without the state assembly passing a unanimous resolution. Asked when the Telangana Congress leaders would take a final decision on accepting Azad's invitation for talks, he said: “Today, we have decided on certain conditions. Today, the mood seems to be entirely different. I need to club them together and work out.”
Azad, incharge of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, had called up Keshav Rao and Jana Reddy and asked them to come for talks to Delhi.The mandal-level party functionaries have been invited for the meeting in a bid to take them along with the Telangana MPs, MLAs and other leaders who had quit their posts en masse in support of separate Telangana demand, he said.
The Telangana Congress MPs, MLAs and MLCs would not withdraw their resignations until a concrete response came from Centre on separate statehood demand, he said. The meeting urged the Centre to take steps for formation of separate Telangana without delay. The meeting called upon the party workers to observe ‘Satyagraha' on July 20 at all mandal headquarters and a ‘flag festival' on July 26.
The workers should hoist party flags, with Telangana map included in it, at various places as per the programme. Several leaders, who spoke at today's meeting, expressed anger over Azad's remarks, alleging that they have brought down their image in public perception. “His comments have made it abundantly clear that he is not unbiased. He is biased (towards non-Telangana regions),” Congress MP M Jagannadh said.
The Telangana Congress MPs, MLAs and MLCs had quit their posts en masse earlier this month in support of the separate Telangana demand. PTI