Telangana Congress leaders to observe fast

Hyderabad: Having failed to get any concrete response from the Centre following their en masse resignations in support of a separate State, Congress leaders from the Telangana region on Monday decided to undertake a 48-hour fast to highlight their cause.

“We have decided to observe a 48-hour fast on July 13 and 14 to draw the attention of the government,” Congress MP K. Keshav Rao told reporters after a meeting of the Congress MPs, MLAs and MLCs who had recently quit their posts.

All those who had resigned from their posts would take part in the fast, he said, adding that the 48-hour fast will be followed by a hunger strike at all mandal headquarters across Telangana.

The meeting was attended by 7 MPs, 3 State Ministers, 8 MLAs and an equal number of MLCs.

Asked about the thin attendance in Monday’s meeting, Congress MP Madhu Yashki Goud said the absence of a large number of leaders did not indicate dilution in their commitment to the cause.

Mr. Rao and other leaders dismissed reports by a section of the media claiming that the leaders were going to form a new party and asserted that they were loyal to the Congress.

“Our loyalty to Congress and Sonia Gandhiji is unflinching. Our demand for Telangana is equally uncompromising,” Mr. Rao said.

He said that the Congress leaders from Telangana are ready to talk to their counterparts from non-Telangana regions about their objection to the separate statehood demand.

The Telangana issue was included in our manifesto and in the common minimum programme of the UPA government as a commitment. They are raising objections to Telangana demands even after 80 years. That is surprising. We are prepared to discuss with them to dispel apprehensions,” Mr. Rao said.

As many as 100 MLAs and 15 MPs cutting across party lines had quit their posts earlier this month in support of the separate statehood demand.