Telangana, Andhra-Rayalaseema supporters at loggerheads in AP

Telangana

With the deadline for the Centre's decision on the vexatious Telangana statehood issue approaching fast, the war of words between leaders of Telangana and Andhra Rayalaseema regions has escalated.

While Andhra-Rayalaseema leaders are brushing aside their Telangana counterparts' claims on "signals" of formation of a new state as "mere speculation," the latter aver that the former are in a state of "desperation" as Telangana state would become a reality soon. In view of this, Congress leaders, including ministers, MPs and legislators, from Andhra-Rayalaseema will meet in Hyderabad tomorrow to chalk out their course of action amid threats by Telangana protagonists not to let the meeting happen. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) sees a conspiracy by "Seemaandhra forces" to thwart creation of Telangana state at a time when the Centre appeared to be favourably-inclined towards it. TRS leader T Harish Rao slammed the Andhra-Rayalaseema leaders and alleged that the Chief Minister was encouraging

them.

State Panchayat Raj Minister K Jana Reddy and Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) representatives met at former Congress MP K Keshava Rao's residence here this afternoon and demanded that the Andhra-Rayalaseema leaders cancel their proposed meeting.

The JAC leaders also announced that they would accept nothing less than a Telangana state with Hyderabad as capital. In Vijayawada, Union Minister for M M Pallam Raju sought to debunk some Telangana ministers' claim over the last] few days that they received signals from the Centre on formation of a new state.

"It's mere speculation," he remarked. MORE PTI DBV GK Guntur MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao also asserted that the Congress high command would never send out any signals ahead of a crucial decision.

"If at all the Centre decides to divide the state, we will resign from our posts," Rayapati said in Guntur. Union Minister of State for Tourism K Chiranjeevi, after a meeting with Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on a different issue, refused to be drawn into a debate on the] statehood issue and maintained that he would abide by] the party high command's decision.

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