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Deepening divide over Telangana

india Updated: Dec 13, 2009 23:50 IST
Ashok Das

The political crisis in Andhra Pradesh over separate statehood for the Telangana region deepened on Sunday with those for and against its creation hardening their attitudes.

People’s representatives from the coastal Andhra region continued their agitation against splitting the state for the third day on Sunday while politicians in Telangana began to prepare for victory rallies from Monday.

Congress Lok Sabha MP from Vijayawada and one of the country’s richest politicians, Lagdapati Rajgopal on Sunday announced that he would a launch an indefinite fast like Telanagana Rashtra Samithi leader K. Chandrasekhara Rao in Hyderabad to stop division of the state. This invited a strong reaction from Telangana votaries who feared the fast would create a law and order problem.

At the same time four Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders including two MLAs, Devineni Umamaheswara Rao and Chinam Ramkotaiah launched a fast unto death in Vijayawada, the state’s second major city and the epicentre of the ongoing anti-Telangana protests. They demanded a categorical statement from the central government that the state would not be divided.

Leaders in Telangana, who had been observing restraint so far, have decided to go ahead and celebrate their much-awaited victory. Leaders belonging to all parties, including the Congress have planned to hold victory rallies in several places in Telangana from Monday. One TDP MLA C. Ramesh resigned from the Assembly and primary membership of the TDP, protesting against party leader Chandrababu Naidu’s flip-flop on Telangana.

In Chennai, key United Progressive Alliance partner DMK criticised the Centre and the Congress over the handling of the Telangana statehood issue. DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said, “A delayed decision and hasty announcement” on Telangana by the Centre had led to the current crisis in Andhra Pradesh.

(With PTI inputs from Chennai)