Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday said her party has no objection to carving out a separate state of Telangana, but stopped short of making any commitment on the issue.
Addressing two public meetings as part of the party's campaign in the backward Telangana region, she said the Congress would take up the issue on priority.
"As far as Telangana is concerned, the chief minister (YS Rajasekhara Reddy) has made a statement in the assembly and the Congress has also said in its election manifesto that it has no objection to formation of a separate Telangana state and will take up this issue on priority," Gandhi said in meetings in Karimnagar and Bhongir in Nalgonda district.
The Telangana region along with north coastal Andhra will go to Lok Sabha and assembly polls in the first phase April 16.
In the 2004 elections, Gandhi had promised that her party would respect the sentiments of the people of the region. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), fighting for separate statehood to Telangana, was then an ally of the Congress.
This time the Congress is contesting the elections on its own while the TRS along with the Left parties has joined a grand alliance led by the state's main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Gandhi criticised the TDP for its somersault on the issue but refrained from attacking the TRS.
"The same TDP, which opposed separate Telangana state, is on Tuesday trying to be the biggest votary of Telangana. I want to ask them: why they failed to give separate statehood to Telangana region during their rule? What have they done for Telangana and its development?" she asked.
She pointed out that the Congress government under the leadership of YS Rajasekhara Reddy took up several irrigation projects and set up an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Telangana.
In February this year the state's Congress government set up a legislative committee to go into the issues raised by the demand for a separate state.