Hyderabad, Feb 12 (Calcutta Tube) It is back to shutdown, protests and mass resignations in Andhra Pradesh with Telangana leaders cutting across party lines Friday rejecting the terms of reference of the Srikrishna panel on the statehood issue.
Describing the terms as ‘baseless, meaningless and mindless’, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) announced that its MPs and 11 legislators would quit.
Legislators of the ruling Congress party and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said they would take a decision on resignations at the all-party Joint Action Committee (JAC), which meets Saturday to chalk out its future course of action.
JAC convenor M. Kodandaram declared support to the Telangana shutdown called by student groups to protest the terms of the Srikrishna panel.
The five-member panel, announced earlier this month, has been asked to examine the demands for a separate state of Telangana as well as the demands for maintaining the present status of a united Andhra Pradesh.
A statement by the union home ministry said the committee would submit its report by Dec 31.
The JAC, hoping that the panel’s terms would be to lay a roadmap for carving out Telangana within a time-frame, said New Delhi’s announcement had disappointed them.
‘How can the centre equate the demand for Telangana state with the demand for unified Andhra?’ asked JAC convenor M. Kodandaram.
While political leaders of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions welcomed the terms of reference, it triggered protests in Telangana, which comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad.
Students of Osmania University here and Kakatiya University in Warangal took to the streets.
Police went on high alert across the region in view of the fresh protests and the shutdown called by Osmania University students’ JAC.
Leaders of TDP, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the TRS rejected the terms of the government appointed panel, saying it went against the proposed Telangana state.
There was mixed reaction from leaders of the Congress party.
While state Congress chief D. Srinivas, who hails from Telangana, welcomed the Srikrishna panel’s terms of reference, senior pro-Telangana leader and former central minister G. Venkatswamy said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had disappointed the people of Telangana.
TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao told reporters that MPs of the party and all 11 legislators would submit their resignations and press for their acceptance.
Rejecting the terms of reference as ‘baseless, meaningless and mindless’, KCR asked all MPs and legislators from Telangana, irrespective of their party affiliation, to quit and prove that the cause of Telangana was dear to them than their posts.
He claimed that 300 Telangana supporters had committed suicide during the last two months over the issue.
KCR’s son and legislator K. Tarakarama Rao said all 10 members of the state assembly would submit their papers Saturday while the lone member of the legislative council will submit his resignation to its chairman.
Telangana and the other two regions remained peaceful since Jan 5 when Home Minister P. Chidambaram met leaders of all parties and promised to evolve a mechanism to resolve the issue.
The central leadership of the Congress has rejected the criticism of the terms of reference. ‘TRS criticism is casual, dismissive and petty,’ said Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi.
State Congress chief D. Srinivas welcomed the terms of reference and appealed to all parties to cooperate with the panel. He rejected KCR’s demand for resignation by all MPs and MLAs.
Congress leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema were happy. The central government has accepted that people from all three regions must be consulted, said K. Sambasiva Rao, a Congress MP from Andhra region.