The Telegraph
Thursday , February 20 , 2014
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Rao sure of February birth

K Chandrasekhar Rao outside Parliament on Tuesday. (PTI)

New Delhi, Feb. 19: K. Chandrasekhar Rao, the protagonist of the Telangana movement, is confident the new state will come into being this month and admits he is under obligation to help the Congress for taking the process to fruition.

Talking to The Telegraph this afternoon when uncertainty loomed over the passage of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill in the Rajya Sabha, Rao was tentative, arguing that he could talk with “definitive answers” only at a later stage when the bill was signed by the President.

But he said: “We have to help the Congress. Sonia Gandhi was determined and we are obliged to her.”

He, however, asserted that there were no structured discussions with the Congress either on an alliance or a merger. “They have not given any proposal. I read so much in the media but talks will begin only after the state is created. Let’s see what happens.”

Asked if he was ready to merge his Telangana Rashtra Samiti with the Congress, Rao said: “All these will be decided later. Right now, we have not applied our mind to anything else, only creation of the state is our priority.”

But his positive attitude towards the Congress and the admission of Sonia’s role in pushing the decision indicate the TRS has decided to do business with the national party. Whether there will be a merger or an alliance will depend on the bargaining details.

Rao’s aide argued that the BJP was not an option for an alliance as the Congress would emerge the most formidable force in Telangana after such a violent separation. “The BJP has lost its face by sending mixed signals,” the aide said.

The Congress is convinced that the TRS would work in tandem with it and the nature of the coalition would be finalised in the next 15 days. The Congress expects the bill to be passed in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow and presidential assent within a day or two.

A senior Congress leader said: “As soon as presidential assent comes, there will be a gazette notification the very next day with an appointed day for the creation of the new state. It could be as early as February 26 or 27.”

The TRS chief also expects the division to come about later this month and elections to the Assembly and the Lok Sabha to be held separately in April-May.

There is a mood of celebration in the TRS camp and a leader trashed the observation that Telangana was a “truncated state”. He said: “Read the bill, the real power is vested in the chief minister. The fear about the governor being given special powers is misplaced.”

This leader also defended the decision for a TV blackout of parliamentary proceedings when the bill was pushed through in the Lok Sabha. “We had definite feedback of trouble in Andhra. We know there is a tendency among the people there to commit suicide and protest violently.

“What was happening in Parliament could have inflamed passions. It was a conscious decision to switch off cameras. The media was present to report the truth. Nobody wanted to suppress the truth. But tactful handling of a difficult situation should be appreciated.”