Seemandhra leaders ask Congress to reconsider Telangana decision

Hyderabad, Oct 3 (IANS) Congress leaders from Seemandhra Thursday reiterated that Congress Working Committee (CWC) must reconsider its decision to carve out a separate Telangana state.

The ruling party leaders from Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) went into a huddle here to chalk out their strategy amid reports that a resolution on Telangana may come up before the union cabinet at its meeting this evening.

The meeting, attended by 14 ministers and about 50 state legislators, also resolved to vote against the resolution whenever it is brought in the state assembly.

State minister S. Sailajanath, who heads the Congress leaders opposing proposed bifurcation, told reporters after the meeting that they remained committed to 'samaikyandhra' (united Andhra).

He along with other ministers later met Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who is openly defying the leadership by opposing the decision to divide the state. The chief minister reportedly told the ministers that they will take a collective decision.

"This is not the time for politics," said Sailajanth to queries about the differences among the Seemandhra leaders. The ministers and legislators were reportedly split into two groups.

While one group loyal to the chief minister strongly opposed the division and said they should go to any extent to stall the bifurcation, the other group cautioned against defying the party leadership.

In an obvious reference to chief minister's outbursts against the party leadership, some ministers at the meeting said they would not tolerate criticism of the top leaders. One of the ministers Kondru Murli alleged that the decision to divide the state was taken because of the opposition parties.

Finance Minister Anam Ramnarayana Reddy, Rural Development Minister D. Manikya Varaparasad and some other ministers have already criticized the chief minister for his tone and tenor at a press conference last week while opposing the party decision.