The Telangana statehood issue continued to simmer on Tuesday, with 19 legislators of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) resigning their seats en masse, even as a jittery Congress cancelled the first public meeting in the region to be addressed by Sonia Gandhi during her visit to the state on March 14.
Upping the ante on their demand for immediate creation of Telangana state, bifurcating 10 districts and the state capital from Andhra Pradesh, the TRS legislators — 16 members of the assembly and three of the legislative council — resigned their posts. On Monday, the party's four MPs had quit their seats in Parliament on the same issue.
TRS leader G Vijayarama Rao accused the Congress of deceiving the people of the region after regaining power at the Centre and the state by promising a separate state on the eve of 2004 polls. The Congress had forged an alliance with TRS for the 2004 state and Lok Sabha elections.
Vijayarama Rao said CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy was the "biggest stumbling block" in the way of a separate Telangana.
"Since the people of Telangana were deceived by the Congress leadership, the TRS members had no option but to quit their elected posts to register their protest."
The legislators said they would go around the region educating the people about the Congress's betrayal and ask them to give a full mandate to their party so that the statehood demand could be achieved.