The separate Telangana agitation appears to have shifted into a higher gear on Thursday after a Cabinet Minister, Jupalli Krishna Rao tendering his resignation on the issue.
Adding further impetus to his resignation, Mr Krishna Rao also threatened to go on fast unto death if necessary, to realise a separate state for Telangana.
Following his resignation, three Ministers; Child and Women’s Welfare Sunita Laxmareddy, Information Technology Ponnala Lakshmaiah and Ports Minister Komatireddy Venkata Reddy expressed their solidarity with him over phone.
Minister for Endowments Jupalli Krishna Rao, spearheading the cause of separate Telangana let it be known that he had resigned to apply pressure on the Congress High Command.
After sending his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he met Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy giving a copy of the letter at the latter’s Chambers in the Assembly.
Mr Krishna Rao’s resignation came at a time when the situation seems to have gained momentum with the Seemandhra Legislators of Congress and TDP demanding that Andhra Pradesh remains integrated.
Announcing his resignation to the media persons, Mr Krishna Rao made clear that his letter was an attempt to press the High Command to clarify their stand on the Telangana statehood issue. He expressed confidence that Ms Sonia Gandhi will do the needful.
Mr Krishna Rao has decided to continue as a Minister till the acceptance of his letter by the Congress president.
He also criticized the Seemandhra leaders for spreading canard to suppress the burning issue. “This is my personal stand. On my part this is my contribution to the cause of Telangana. I resigned as per my conscience,” Mr Krishna Rao said.
The resignation was on the lines of the Governor’s format.
He is believed to have declared that he would abide by his stand and demonstrated what he told the students of the Osmania University way back.
“Ministry was not important for me as posts were temporary and deeds remained permanent,” Mr Krishna Rao said. In the absence of Legislators from Telangana region in the Assembly it was not right for him to stay on as a Minister, he added.
Mr Krishna Rao also favoured a Bill on Telangana tabled in the current Parliament Budget Session. Asked whether he lost confidence in the ‘separation’ issue, he said, “no” and clarified that resignation was an attempt and that there was always another alternative in case the resignation did not work.
He was of the opinion that he would undertake a fast unto death if necessary as he was not new to such hunger strikes.
The Minister informed that earlier he went on a hunger strike for 11 days at the MLA Quarters. As per voters’ mandate and after taking the Oath of office he said he would function to suit the requirement of the voters.
Stating that Telangana was another name for 'sacrifice,' Mr Krishna Rao said whatever step was required he would take as the situation warranted.
He also made it clear that he took the decision not for anybody’s sake but to fulfil his obligation. “I stand by my word”, he said.
The TJAC leaders, the TNGO staff were taking part in the noncooperation movement without salaries and students were also fighting for a separate Telangana. “Hundreds of students have sacrificed their lives, he pointed out.
He said he was motivated by all these occurrences. “All of us must unitedly fight for achieving the Telangana state,” Mr Krishna Rao said.