Seven Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh resigned on Friday to protest against the Centre’s decision to carve out a separate Telangana as statehood agitations in West Bengal and Assam turned violent.
Six Lok Sabha MPs and a Rajya Sabha member submitted their letters to their respective House officials while three others were said to have faxed their resignations. However, bringing some relief to the Congress-led UPA government, four union ministers from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema — MM Pallam Raju, D Purandeswari, JD Seelam and Killi Kruparani — who had offered to quit decided to stay on.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh assured the central MPs that a high-level panel would be set up to address their concerns.
Hyderabad also saw two ministers and nine MLAs put in their papers. As protests and rallies continued, Telangana Rashtra Samithi leader K Chandrasekhara
Rao added fuel to fire by saying state government employees from Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra — or Seema-Andhra as the two are called — who were working in Telangana should go back home. “Telangana people would work in our government. Andhra people can work for the government there,” Rao said.
In Bengal, Darjeeling seemed to be headed for a long agitation for Gorkhaland as people stocked up on groceries to tide over an indefinite bandh from Saturday.
A police outpost and a forest bunglow were set on fire on Friday. “Rioters tried to trap two home guards inside the burning police outpost. One of them has serious burn injuries,” said additional superintendent of police Supdeep Sarkar.
Violence continued in Assam’s Karbi Anglong hills district as statehood supporters attacked a police station, set ablaze 20 government offices and a local Congress MP’s house, prompting the army to stage a flag march. The district has seen two deaths over three days of violence.
In lower Assam, Bodo tribals —also fighting for their own state — blocked railway tracks for 12 hours, affecting train services.
Inputs from HTC Darjeeling, Guwahati