Congress leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions went into a tizzy, sparked off by conflicting reports from New Delhi, that the 'note' on Telangana would be discussed by the Union cabinet on Thursday evening, forcing AP chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy to dissipate the tension saying
there was "no such information".
"Stay calm, there is no information that the 'T note' will come up before the Union cabinet today; but we should all defeat the resolution over the state bifurcation issue in the Assembly whenever it comes to us," the AP chief minister reportedly told his cabinet colleagues, MPs, MLCs and MLAs who rushed to him this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Telugu television news channels went to town claiming that the note on Telangana would be taken up as a "table item", though it was not listed in the regular agenda of the Union cabinet meeting in New Delhi on Thursday evening.
Comments by All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Digvijaya Singh that "the note has to go to the Cabinet anyway" triggered speculation that it would indeed be taken up today evening.
However, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde denied this saying that such reports were "media speculation".
Despite this, there was instant anger across coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions where people who have been agitating for the last 65 days demanding that the state be kept "united", took to the streets in large numbers and burnt effigies of Congress leaders.
Spontaneous bandhs and shut downs were observed in many towns of these regions, even as AP NGOs Association president P Ashok Babu, who has been leading the agitation, expressed outrage over the Centre's move.
Congress ministers, MPs, MLAs and MLCs held a meeting at the Ministers' Residential Complex in Hyderabad and discussed developments.
Cracks among the Congress leaders from Seemandhra, however, became apparent, after one section sought to tow the Congress party high command's line.
Soon after the meeting, Congress leaders rushed to the Andhra Pradesh chief minister's camp residence to discuss the fallout of the situation.
The AP chief minister, however, tried to pacify them by dismissing reports about the 'T note' and advised legislators against taking hasty decisions like resignation.
"We have to stay in our posts to defeat the resolution in the AP state Assembly. We have to fight till the end," he reportedly told them.
Congress MPs Lagadapati Rajagopal, Undavalli Arun Kumar, G Harsha Kumar, 13 ministers and over 30 legislators were among those who met the Andhra chief minister.
Earlier in the day, Union minister of State for IT and Communications Killi Kruparani also had a meeting with the AP CM over the Telangana statehood issue.