Vijayawada, Apr 28 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President D Srinivas today asserted that the forthcoming by-elections to fill vacancies to four Lok Sabha and 16 Assembly seats caused by the resignation of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) members, will not be a referendum on Telangana.
Speaking at the meet-the-press programme here, he said though there were ten by-elections during the five-year tenure of the state government, it will not be a referendum.
It was a routine election and will not be a referendum on the government's performance, he asserted.
The referendum on the performance of the government will be slated during the Assembly elections for 2009, he added.
To a question on whether the Congress was in favour of Telangana State, the PCC President said the issue of granting statehood was before the Centre and it would decide at an appropriate time.
Answering another question on how long the Telangana issue would be alive, he shot back saying the question must be posed to the Prime Minister.
When asked whether he would hold responsibility on the party's performance in the coming byelections, Mr Srinivas said such issues should not be raised.
''The Congress is not a small party and the programmes which we have implemented during the last four years would help it to romp home at the hustings,'' he added.
When reminded about the TRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao's statement that his party would ensure the Congress candidates win in the bypolls if the latter announced it would grant separate Telangana State, Mr Srinivas said, ''I will not react to his statement.
''How can he give guarantee for Congress when it won only 26 Assembly seats out of 60 seats it contested in Telangana Region during the last Assembly elections held in 2004?'' he asked.
On the Khairatabad Assembly Constitutency, where the TRS announced it would field its candidate against Mr Vishnuvardhan Reddy, son of Mr P Janardhan Reddy, he said as a human gesture, all political parties unanimously decided on the Floor of the House earlier that there should be any contest as Mr Janardhan Reddy was a great leader who fought for the downtrodden and toiling masses.
However, the decision was backtraced by the TRS which was prepared to contest the election.
It is a ''noiminal'' contest as people in Khairatabad Constituency would vote for Mr Janardhan Reddy's son in a big way and the TRS would be isolated, he claimed.
UNI CS GM BDP HT1408