The struggle for a separate Telangana state on Friday received a setback with Congress leaders from the region deciding to walk out of the all-party Joint Action Committee (JAC) and chalk out their own course of action.
A meeting of Congress ministers, parliamentarians and state legislators from the Telangana region decided to form the Telangana Congress Action Committee.
"We were so far working with the JAC, but from today (Friday) we will have our own action committee to organise programmes at various levels," Congress legislator and former minister Jana Reddy told reporters here.
The party leaders were unhappy with the JAC for directing all elected representatives from the region to resign over the terms of reference of the Srikrishna Committee formed by the central government to look into the Telangana state issue.
They also took exception to JAC activists laying siege to their houses to pressurise them to resign.
So far, only 15 out of 110 legislators from Telangana have submitted their resignations and assembly Speaker N Kiran Kumar Reddy has accepted resignations of 12 of them, including all 10 of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).
Only two of the 50 Congress legislators from Telangana submitted their papers. The Congress central leadership is trying to convince both of them to withdraw their resignations.
While the Congress leaders have refused to resign, those from opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) sent their papers to JAC convenor M. Kodandaram to build pressure on the ruling party.
The meeting of Congress leaders also decided to request the central leadership to reduce the tenure of the Srikrishna panel. It asked for the panel's report by Sep 30 instead of Dec 31.
Meanwhile, Kodandaram reiterated that only the resignations of elected representatives could force the central government to initiate the process of formation of Telangana state as per its Dec 9 statement, which said the process for a separate Telangana state will be initiated soon.
He said the Srikrishna Committee would be of no use as its terms of reference were not favourable for the formation of Telangana state.
He said the JAC would intensify the movement for separate state and would announce its future course of action in a couple of days.