Sacrifices necessary for separate Telangana: senior Congressman


Hyderabad : A day after the failure of talks with Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy over the issue of separate statehood to the Telangana region, senior Congress leader G. Venkatswamy said the separate state could be achieved only through sacrifices.

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The Congress party’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha said a separate Telangana could not be achieved through talks and hinted that a movement similar to the one witnessed in 1969 was required.

“The movement then had taken 350 lives and I don’t know how many more lives it requires,” he told a seminar on development issues in the backward Telangana region.

He said a separate Telangana would help address the Maoist problem. He was referring to the argument by opponents of a separate state that it would strengthen Maoists.

Referring to his dinner meeting with the chief minister Friday, the former union minister said he made it clear there would be no compromise on the demand for a separate state.

The talks between the chief minister and senior leaders headed by Venkatswamy at the latter’s house had failed to break the ice. During the 90-minute meeting, Rajasekhara Reddy failed to mollify the group, which decided to continue to agitate for formation of a separate state before next year’s election.

After the meeting, Venkatswamy, who is a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), told newsmen that the chief minister unfortunately failed to give any specific assurance over the issue.

Venkatswamy told Rajasekhara Reddy that if he took the initiative, a separate Telangana would become a reality.

The chief minister reportedly told the senior leaders that it was not proper to criticise the party leaders as this would cause damage to the party.

The meeting came in the backdrop of mounting criticism by the senior leaders after they were denied an appointment with party president Sonia Gandhi to convey their sentiments over the issue. Venkatswamy had even stated that the denial of appointment to a senior leader like him was an insult to the party.

The demand for separate statehood to Telangana region comprising 10 districts including Hyderabad is over four decades old.

The Congress leaders from the region intensified their efforts in the wake of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) threatening to resign en masse from parliament and state legislature to mount pressure on the Congress-led UPA government.