Cong MPs meet party leaders, say no alternative to Telangana

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New Delhi, Jan 12 (PTI) A group of Congress MPs fromTelangana today met the top central party leadership and madeit clear that there was no alternative to a separate state.

14 MPs including 11 from Lok Sabha told Finance MinisterPranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony and Law MinisterVeerappa Moily that demand for state of Telengana was genuineand old and should be accepted by the party leadership.

In a brief memorandum to Mukherjee, the MPs said, "withall humility at our command, we assert in one voice that thereis no alternative to separate Telengana. We have made itabundantly clear in our last meeting while pledging ourloyalty to the party. This is the inalienable demand of thepeople of Telengana and we resolve to stand by people touphold Congress banner."

Emerging out of the meeting, Rajya Sabha member andsenior Party leader from Telengana K Keshava Rao said, "we areabsolutely hopeful. There is not even an iota of doubt."

He was asked if the party MPs were hopeful that theirdemand for separate state would be accepted by Congress.

Another party MP P Hanumanta Rao said, "We want separateTelengana. It is a people''s movement."

There was slogan-shouting by a group of students fromTelengana outside the meeting venue in support of theirdemand. They also prostrated at the feet of the MPs requestingthem to get their demand fulfilled.

The meeting comes a day after the former party MP Y SJaganmohan Reddy organised a one-day fast here, which wasattended by two dozen Congress MLAs of which some alsobelonged to Telangana region.

Sources said that the earlier plan was to meet each ofthe MPs individually but they insisted on meeting together.

Congress high command appears to have adopted await-and-watch approach on the challenge thrown up by theSrikrishna Committee on Telangana, which has given variousoptions including keeping the state united as well asformation of a separate Telangana.

The party is banking heavily on newly installed ChiefMinister Kiran Kumar Reddy to tackle the situation giving morethan hints that it was an "acid test" and if he could provehis leadership, it would be better for him and the party. PTIAMR AJD

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