Congress legislators from Telangana on Wednesday started a 48-hour fast in protest against party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement that the issue concerning the new state could not move an “inch” without the assembly’s unanimous resolution.
Azad is in charge of Andhra Pradesh affairs, apart from being union health minister.
“His remarks are highly irresponsible,” said J Krishna Rao, a minister who has resigned, and sought to remind the health minister that he (Azad) was in charge of Andhra Pradesh in 2004, when the party returned to power in the state on the promise of granting Telangana.
To date 45 Congress MLAs and 10 MPs from the region have resigned.
The lawmakers on Wednesday commenced their fast in the morning. Till late Tuesday night, chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and Andhra Pradesh Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana tried to persuade the legislators to call off their fast and take back their resignations. But the leaders were unrelenting.
However, the attendance at the fast venue was thin in the beginning with hardly 12 lawmakers including two ministers. But about 30 lawmakers joined them later in the day.
Meanwhile, the Telangana Joint Action Committee announced a rail roko (stop train) on July 14.
The agitation can affect the movements of all north- and west-bound trains including those going to Delhi and Mumbai. Anticipating trouble, the railways have cancelled or rerouted 147 trains.