Keshava Rao, 2 MPs quit Congress, join Telangana Rashtra Samiti

In a severe setback for the Congress in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, senior party leader and former Rajya Sabha member K Keshava Rao was reported to have decided to quit the party and join the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). Moreover, three Congress MPs from Telangana have also threatened to quit the party on Friday.

When contacted, however, Keshava Rao said he had not yet resigned but may do so depending on the Congress high command's response to their demand for a statement on separate statehood for Telangana. "The Congress is a party of principles, but in Telangana's case it is not so. The party is simply not responding and we are forced to take this decision as we felt the Telangana people are being cheated. We are not doing this for any personal benefit, this is for Telangana,'' he said.

The three Lok Sabha members, Gaddam Vivekananda (Peddapalli), S Rajaiah (Warangal) and

Dr Manda Jagannath (Nagarkurnool) have threatened to resign from the Congress tomorrow and join the TRS on June 2 unless the party issues a "favourable statement'' by Thursday midnight.

All the four Congress leaders met TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao (KCR) at Vivekananda's residence today. While Vivekananda and Jagannath announced that they would resign from their seats and join the TRS, Rajaiah refused to comment.

"If our party does not respond to our pleas for a statement, we will be forced to resign. We will wait till Friday and then resign from our seats and join the TRS. A public meeting is being held at the Nizam College Grounds on June 2 when we will formally join the TRS,'' said Jagannath after the meeting.

Jagannath left the TDP to join the Congress in 2009. He was reported to be miffed with the Congress leadership when he was not given a ministerial berth. Sources in the TRS said while he has been assured a ticket for next year's Lok Sabha elections, Jagannath has also sought a ticket for his son.

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