As the agitation for creation of a separate Telangana state continues, five Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh on Monday morning began a 48-hour-long sit-in at the main entrance of parliament to press for the formation of the state.
MPs Ponnam Prabhakar, G Vivekanand, Rajaiah Siricilla, M Jagannath and G Sukhender Reddy are staging their sit-in protest on the stairs at the main entrance to the building and say their demands are not being heard inside the house so they are forced to agitate outside.
"We have been raising the issue inside the house, but since our voice was not heard we were forced to sit here. There was a promise to create Telangana, they set up a committee, the report came, what is the reason for delaying it now," Prabhakar told IANS.
"We will be sitting here till 11am May 1, to register our protest. We want Telangana to be formed," Prabhakar added.
Several leaders and other parliament members met the agitating MPs, who are sitting virtually blocking the entrance.
Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj met the agitating MPs and expressed her solidarity with their cause.
"People are sitting on a hunger strike for 48 hours. They are saying that the government did not keep its promise on the statehood issue," she said after meeting the MPs.
"Since the Congress is not fulfilling its promises, these people are forced to protest... We are completely pro-Telangana," she said supporting the demand for a separate state.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has promised to create separate state of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh within three months if the party came to power at the centre.
Agriculture minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar, his daughter and party MP Supriya Sule, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and the Congress's Sandeep Dikshit and Jai Prakash Agarwal were among those who met the agitating MPs.
"Over 50 MPs came and met us," Jagannath said.
Congress MPs from Telangana region have been vocal in their demand for a separate state, causing much discomfort to the party leaders. Congress, which leads the ruling alliance at the centre, is also the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh.