Hyderabad: Attempting to regain lost ground for the ruling Congress party in Andhra Pradesh’s Telangana region ahead of elections, chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Thursday said a committee of lawmakers would study the demand for statehood to Telangana.
In an unexpected and unscheduled statement in the state assembly, Reddy said his party had never been against statehood to Telangana.
“The government of Andhra Pradesh has no objection for the formation of Telangana state in principle and feels that the time has come to move forward decisively on this issue,” he said.
Changing stand: Andhra Pradesh CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy said a panel of lawmakers would study the demand for statehood. Bharath Sai / Mint
The region, which consists of 10 districts including the state capital Hyderabad, has 107 out of 294 assembly seats and 15 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh, making it crucial for any political party to come to power in the state.
Immediately after the chief minister’s statement, opposition party leaders alleged that the Congress had betrayed the people of Telangana by delaying the process of granting statehood to the region for nearly five years after winning the 2004 elections.
The chief minister’s statement was aimed at countering the alliance formed by the opposition parties, all of which support the growing clamour for Telangana statehood.
The alliance includes the key opposition Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and Left parties — Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM).
The TRS, CPI and CPM had joined hands with the Congress in 2004 to end the TDP’s nearly decade-long rule in the state.