A day after it succeeded in persuading a defiant Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao to break his fast, the Congress adopted a cautious approach on the issue on Thursday.
Hit by a backlash in Andhra Pradesh hours after Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s midnight announcement on the formation of a Telangana state, the party is now talking of consensus.
“A state of Telangana cannot come about without two levels of consensus. One at the central level for Constitutional amendment and another at the state level for passing of a resolution...(in the assembly). They cannot come unless there is a consensus from all parties,” said party spokesman, Abhishek Singhvi.
Taken aback by the sudden turn of events in Andhra, party leaders admit missing the late chief minister Y.S.R. Reddy who had single-handedly stonewalled the creation of Telangana during the last five years.
YSR’s gamble of dumping the TRS for the 2009 Lok Sabha and assembly elections paid off, and his calculation that there was no popular sentiment in favour of a separate state in the Telangana region is still weighing heavily on the minds of party leadership.
The Congress beat a hasty retreat from what appeared to be its strategy on Wednesday that the vacuum created by YSR’s sudden death in a chopper crash on September 2, had blunted the strong opposition for the creation of Telangana.
The opposition to the creation of Telangana from the Telugu Desam Party in the Andhra Pradesh assembly and the CPI(M) in Delhi seems to have provided some relief for the Congress. “Opposition from any side will not be good,” said a party leader.
The party is now looking at ways to allow frayed tempers to cool down and party managers are confident that they will be able to persuade the TRS chief not to insist on a “rushed decision”.
In 2004, when the TRS and Left were both allies of the Congress-led UPA, the common minimum programme said on the issue: “The UPA government will consider the demand for the formation of a Telangana state at an appropriate time after due consultations and consensus.”
The UPA government, in its first tenure, formed a committee headed by senior minister Pranab Mukherjee to explore the possibility of consensus on the issue, but nothing emerged finally.
Wary of the similar demand being raised in different parts of the country, the Congress seems set to employ a go-slow approach on the issue, as of now.