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Telangana leaders reject panel terms; TRS MPs, MLAs to quit

Hyderabad, Feb 12 (Calcutta Tube) Telangana leaders cutting across party lines Friday rejected the terms of reference of the Srikrishna panel on the statehood issue, and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), describing the terms as ‘baseless, meaningless and mindless’, announced that all its MPs and state legislators would resign.

Leaders of main opposition Telugu Desam Party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the TRS rejected the terms of reference of the government appointed panel, saying it was not in favour of formation of Telangana state.

The panel 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.

However, there was mixed reaction from the leaders of the ruling Congress party in Andhra Pradesh.

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 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. Even Telangana leaders of the TDP said they would wait for the decision of the all-party Joint Action Committee (JAC), which is to hold a crucial meeting later Friday or Saturday morning to chalk out its future course of action.

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.

‘The terms of reference carry no value. The centre has once again cheated the people of Telangana. It has not taken into consideration the trauma of the people and the series of suicides by youth and students,’ said KCR. He claimed that 300 Telangana supporters have committed suicide during the last two months over the issue.

The JAC, hoping that the panel’s terms would be to lay a roadmap for carving out Telangana state with a clear 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.

‘Having a time-frame is no reason for accepting the terms of reference,’ said Kodandaram, who held a meeting with TDP leaders.

The Congress leaders from the region are also holding a separate meeting to decide the stand they would take in the JAC meeting.

While TDP legislators were willing to resign en masse to create a constitutional amendment, the Congress camp clearly looks divided over the issue.

KCR, as the TRS chief is popularly known, said he along with party MP Vijayshanti would give their resignations to the Lok Sabha speaker.

All 10 members of the state assembly will submit their papers to the speaker while the lone member of the legislative council will submit his resignation to its chairman.

Legislators will submit their resignations to assembly speaker at 11.30 a.m. Saturday.

KCR, whose 11-day fast in December had forced the central government to announce that the process for formation of Telangana state would be initiated, said the panel’s terms were unacceptable to the people of Telangana.

The TRS chief said the next course of action would be announced after the JAC meeting.

‘It is going to be a relentless fight till we achieve the separate state,’ he added.

State Congress chief D. Srinivas, however, 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.

State Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy welcomed the terms of reference but other pro-Telangana leaders like Jeevan Reddy rejected it.

The Congress party leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema welcomed the terms of reference. The central government has accepted the demand that people of all regions should be consulted before taking a decision, said K. Sambasiva Rao, a Congress MP from Andhra region.

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