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Andhra rebels on Sathe trail

Hyderabad, Aug. 18: Those wanting a separate Telengana Pradesh Congress Committee seem to be following the lead of two veteran leaders who broke away from the party yesterday in the cause of a separate Vidarbha state.

A general body meeting of the Congress Forum for Telengana has passed a resolution here saying: “In case the party high command does not concede our demand for a regional Congress committee for Telengana, we might go out of the Congress to form a legitimate platform to vindicate our feelings.”

The resolution differs completely from the one adopted by the Telengana Congress Legislators’ Forum yesterday. The latter accepted Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad’s advice to wait till November before making a move. Only 19 out of 41 members of the Legislators’ Forum participated in the meeting.

In contrast, nearly 210 local body members as well as members of the pradesh Congress and the All India Congress Committee and former legislators and ministers attended the Forum for Telengana’s general body meeting. The Forum for Telengana said it resented the attempt to put off consideration of its demands till November “under pressure from vested interests”.

Speaking to the media, its spokesperson K. Keshav Rao said the meeting had also expressed regret over the high command’s remarks on developments in Vidarbha.

Vasant Sathe and .K.P. Salve yesterday broke away from the Congress to form the Vidarbha Rajya Nirman Congress in an attempt to carve a separate Vidarbha state. Rao said the high command’s remark that Sathe and Salve’s move would have no impact revealed its ignorance.

The four Congress MLAs from the Telengana region who quit their posts last week are under pressure to leave the party like the Vidarbha leaders have done. Eight Congress legislators in all have quit over the demand.

The forum hailed Sathe and Salve’s bold stand and the development has emboldened the forum to press for a separate committee for Telengana and threaten to quit the party.

Newly-appointed Andhra Pradesh Congress chief D. Srinivas is not opposed to a separate Telengana, but the leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy is keeping silent.

“I would rather have a Telengana man as the pradesh Congress chief rather than a separate pradesh committee for Telengana,” Reddy said.

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