Congress in a bind over strategy for bypolls in T

Just when the Congress had heaved a sigh of relief at averting the possible rebellion of the Kadapa MP, Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy, it finds itself in a dilemma over what strategy to adopt on Telangana in the forthcoming by-elections in the region.

The Karimnagar MP, Mr Ponnam Prabhakar, and the Zahirabad MP, Mr Suresh Shetkar, called on the law minister and in-charge of AP affairs, Mr Veerappa Moily, and demanded that the party should not go against popular sentiment in Telangana.

They want the party to clearly state during the poll campaign that the Congress is in favour of a separate Telangana state.

This view is firmly opposed by Congress politicians whose constituencies are in the other two regions. It is pertinent to note that the government whip in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, Dr S. Sailajanath, called on Mr Moily and urged him to ensure that the party uses the slogan of development and other welfare schemes during the election campaign and does not commit to anything on Telangana.

Mr Prabhakar wants the party to expose the Telugu Desam and the BJP for not conceding to the demand for a separate state when they were in power, even though they were instrumental in the creation of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand.

The MPs want the party to highlight its contribution to Telangana: the announcement by the Union home minister on December 9 and also the appointment of the Srikrishna committee.

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