Congress leaders from Telangana have termed as irresponsible union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's statement that separate Telangana cannot be formed unless the state assembly passes a unanimous resolution.
They claim that a resolution is not a must for carving out the separate state under Article 3 of the Indian Constitution.
Azad, a Congress general secretary, is in charge of the party affairs in Andhra Pradesh.
"It is irresponsible on the part of a senior leader and a union minister to make such a statement," said J Krishna Rao, who resigned as state minister for the sake of separate state.
"Was he not aware of this when the Congress entered into an electoral alliance with TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) in 2004?" asked Rao, who along with other party leaders from the region launched a two-day fast in Hyderabad, demanding a separate state.
Azad told the Indian media in Beijing, where he is visiting, on Tuesday that the Telangana issue cannot move an inch without the state assembly passing a unanimous resolution.
Differing with Azad, MP G Sukhender Reddy said passing a resolution was not a must for formation of a separate state.
"It is not binding to form a state. It is only a convention," he told reporters.
State minister K Venkat Reddy recalled that Azad was also in charge of the party's affairs in Andhra Pradesh when the Congress entered into an alliance with the TRS in 2004 and promised a separate Telangana state.
MP S Rajaiah said a consensus in the assembly was never possible.
"How can an assembly which has majority of members from Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra regions) pass a unanimous resolution for formation of separate Telangana state?" he asked.
Senior leaders like K Keshava Rao and K Jana Reddy preferred not to react to Azad's statement.
Keshava Rao had reacted sharply to Azad's earlier statement that there is need to build consensus among all parties and regions on the Telangana issue.