The political atmosphere has been vitiated in both Telanga and Seemandhra regions of Andhra Pradesh after the controversial remarks by AICC general secretary and in charge of AP affairs, Ghulam Nabi Azad this week that the Centre was not bound by the one month deadline to take a decision on Telangana. The latent animosity between leaders of both sides has flared up, triggering angry protests.

Though Azad’s comments were intended to douse the raging passions among Congress leaders from the two sides for the time being, the situation seems to be slipping out of the party’s hands as the high command came in for severe criticism from both pro and anti-Telangana lobbies.

Azad’s effigies were burnt by students and non-political organisations in Hyderabad for two days. Seven Congress MPs from Telangana who huddled at the residence of former MP K. Keshav Rao in Hyderabad accused Azad of “becoming an agent of Seemandhra leaders” and “scuttling an impending statement in favour of Telangana”. “Azad is the villain for the people of this region, he sold himself out to Seemandhra leaders,” Nizamabad MP Madhu Yashki said.

Nagarkurnool MP Manda Jangannath made a personal attack against Azad by saying that Azad had proved his loyalties towards the cash-rich Seemandhra lobby, by nullifying the one month deadline fixed by Home Minister Sushikumar Shinde.

If the attack against Azad from the Congress circles were this sharp, it is harsher from the Telangana Rasthra Samithi (TRS) and other parties supporting Telangana statehood.

“Azad is a major obstacle to the formation of Telangana and he is acting at the behest of the rich coastal MPs like Lagadapati Rajagopal and Rayapati Sambasiva Rao,” said TRS MLA T. Harish Rao. Several pro-Telangana outfits have announced agitation programmes with the Telangana political joint action committee (T-JAC) announcing a day-long fast in Hyderabad on Sunday, while several others have planned rallies Monday. Telangana Congress MPs are planning to meet on 28 January to review the situation if the Centre failed to announce a roadmap for the state formation.

On the other hand, a large number of ministers, MPs and MLAs from Seemandhra returned home after not receiving any appointments with either Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi for the next two days. Most of them turned up to a meeting, christened “Jai Andhra Pradesh Conclave” convened by Rajahmundry Congress MP U. Arun Kumar on Friday night. PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana, MPs K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, Lagadapati Rajagopal and J.D. Seelam were among those present. Making matters worse, Arun Kumar warned Telangana leaders that: “As long as we (Seemandhra) have 170 MLAs and they have 119 MLAs, Telangana will never come and we will oppose each of their moves.” Even as Seemandhra Congress leaders are attempting to project that they are keeping the state united, defection of party MLAs continues. The latest to quit the Congress are MLAs Perni Nani and B. Sivaprasada Reddy, who joined the YSR Congress.

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