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TRS Chief Rao on hunger strike, Somnath urges end

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Aug 23 (UNI) Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader K Chandrashekar Rao today began a hunger strike after resigning from the Union Cabinet over the issue of a separate Telangana state even as efforts were being made to persuade him to reconsider his party's decision of withdrawing from the UPA.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee was among important leaders who urged Mr Rao to end his fast and return to the House.

''I personally request him to discontinue his fast and join the House and I have told him I will hear him,'' Mr Chatterjee pleaded when Mr Yerran Naidu (TDP) said the House had the right to know why the Labour Minister had resigned.

''I call upon all the members to join me in requesting him to return to the House,'' Mr Chatterjee said after the House met at 1200 hrs following an half-an-hour adjournment forced by the TRS members demanding the formation of a Telangana state as promised in the National Common Minimum Programme.

In Hyderabad, maintaining that the TRS had consented to the Congress stand for formation of Second States Reorganisation Commission to decide on the statehood issue prior to the last elections, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy said that no deadline could be fixed for UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to take a decision on the sensitive issue.

''The Congress party, particularly Ms Gandhi is not in the habit of cheating people. She may require one year or one-and-half years or more to analyse the issue thoroughly from all angles before taking a decision,'' he told a press conference in the Assembly Committee hall after the House was adjourned in the wake of disruption of proceedings by the TRS.

Alleging that Ms Gandhi had 'betrayed' Telangana's people, the TRS said it would embark on a peaceful struggle to attain statehood for the region.

Led by Floor Leader K Vijayarama Rao, the TRS MLAs, after abrupt adjournment of the State Assembly for the day, took a pledge before the Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Legislatures' premises to carry on a 'peaceful' agitation to achieve the demand.

Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha was adjourned for half an hour till 1200 hours with the NDA members supporting the proponents of separate statehood for Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh who resorted to uproar in the House.

As soon as the House assembled in the morning, four of the five TRS MPs went into the well, raising slogans like ''implement Common Minimum Programme'', ''Respect people's mandate'', ''respect the President's speech'' and ''Jai Telangana''.

They got instant support from the NDA members who also got up from their seats shouting ''TRS aage badho, hum tumhare saath hain (TRS go ahead, we are with you)''. This resulted in a din in the House.

Mr A Narendra who also quit as Union Minister of State for Rural Development, continued attending parliament as part of a move to raise the issue both inside and outside the House.

(EDS: please pick up from earlier series) UNI TEAM PA AT PC2010

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