HYDERABAD: The luncheon meeting hosted by PCC president D Srinivas to bring about bonhomie among the party leaders turned sour with seniors demanding chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy that he take measures to facilitate the formation of separate Telangana state instead of becoming a stumbling block.
The lunch was attended by former PCC presidents and chief ministers and those who are considered creme de la creme of the state Congress.
The meeting ended with Telangana leaders reminding the chief minister of his earlier stand when he himself sent MLAs to Delhi to impress upon the Centre the need for a separate Telangana and his subsequent change of heart as the chief minister.
"People are fed up with the game of passing the buck on to the Centre. It is time we supported Telangana," party senior leaders G Venkataswamy, P Narasa Reddy, K Keshav Rao and V Hanumantha Rao reportedly told the chief minister. But, Reddy and the PCC president reportedly urged the members to observe restraint as the issue was under consideration of the party high command and fight the elections with unity.
According to sources, CWC member Venkataswamy led the discussion by saying that the chief minister as initiator of the Telangana campaign should also facilitate the formation of T-state. "It was you who sent Congress MLAs from the region to the party president Sonia Gandhi with a demand for a separate state. So, it is incumbent upon you to steer clear the road to form a separate state," he said.
The CWC member is said to have assured the meeting that he would get Sonia's assent for the Telangana state in a single day if the chief minister gives his nod. Endorsing this view of Venkataswamy, another former PCC president Narasareddy reportedly said that it was wrong to blame the party high command for the impasse on the issue.
"People are fed up with this type of talk and feel that the issue is being delayed not by the high command but by us," he reportedly remarked. Former PCC presidents Keshav Rao and Hanumantha Rao also stressed the need for an early decision.
Many other leaders including Rao are said to have opposed the undue prominence being given to movie stars while cold-shouldering senior leaders in the party. "All the senior leaders have loyal followers. Instead of making them partners, efforts are on to rope in film actors for campaign. This is wrong," they reportedly remarked. Cautioning about the possibility of the "Obama effect" on the state politics, Hanumanth Rao suggested that two assembly seats in each parliamentary constituency should be set apart for backward classes.
Earlier during the day, Srinivas hosted a breakfast meeting for film stars. Only Jayasudha, Dharmavarapu Subramaniam and film producer Adi Seshagiri Rao turned up for the meeting. Later, talking to the media, Jayasudha said that she would visit all the districts soon and interact with youth.