Origin of Telangana statehood put at Congress' in 1999

The Congress in Andhra Pradesh is now facing the heat over Telangana statehood, a demand it had originally raked up when it was in the opposition way back in 1999.

In 2001, though, Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote a letter to the then Union Home Minister L K Advani seeking creation of Telangana state in the aftermath of formation of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttaranchal. But Advani turned down the plea stating that the demand could not be considered without a resolution by the state Assembly, according to Congress MP Vundavalli Arunkumar, who hails from coastal Andhra.

K Chandrasekhar Rao picked up the statehood demand from where the Congress left after he walked out of the Telugu Desam and launched his own Telangana Rashtra Samiti in 2001. Since then he has become the flag-bearer of the statehood "movement", invariably forcing other parties also to carry the mantle for their political existence.

In 2004, the Congress forged an electoral alliance with the TRS and went on to form a coalition government. The tie-up continued at the national level and TRS became part of the Union government as well. Within two years, however, the parties parted ways as the Congress could not address the statehood issue despite repeated promises.

A separate state was first sought on the development plank, citing "injustice" to Telangana from the time when the erstwhile Nizam¿s Hyderabad was merged with Andhra in 1956.

When that did not cut any ice, the separatists changed tune and started singing the "self-respect" verse.

What happened in Andhra Pradesh since November 2009 ¿ in the aftermath of the then Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy¿s death ¿ could be termed as defining phase in the statehood movement.

The statement on December 9, 2009 by the then Home Minister P Chidambaram declaring that the "process for creation of Telangana state is being initiated had given a fresh boost to the statehood movement".

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