In their first-ever show of strength, Congress leaders held a public meeting here, amid the intensified efforts by the party's central leaders to find a solution to the contentious issue.
Thousands of people from various parts of the region attended the meeting at Nizam College Grounds, bringing traffic to halt in several busy areas in the heart of the city
The meeting urged the party leadership to take a decision on granting separate statehood to the region without any further delay. Senior leaders including those who met party president Sonia Gandhi a few days ago, claimed that the party would soon deliver the separate state.
Some political observers see the meeting as an attempt by the Congress party to claim credit for carving out Telangana state and deny Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) the political advantage of any such decision.
Enthused by massive turnout, the leaders declared that Congress alone can form the separate state. They coined the slogan of 'Jai Telangana Jai Congress', making it clear they would remain in the party to achieve their goal.
Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha was the centre of attraction on the occasion. He said the 70-year-old movement was close to achieving the goal.
Terming it as a struggle for self-respect, he said the region had a long history of revolting against "suppression and exploitation".
He pointed out that out of 56 years of Andhra Pradesh, leaders from Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and Andhra) were chief ministers for 44 years while Telangana leaders held the post for only 12 years.
Alleging that some forces were trying to create hurdles in formation of Telangana state, he said it would be better for the people to divide as brothers and prosper as separate states.
Senior minister K. Jana Reddy, a key leader of the party in the region, claimed that the dream of Telangana people would soon become a reality.
Former state Congress chief D. Srinivas said Congress and UPA understood the seriousness of the issue. He expressed the confidence that Gandhi would "very soon" declare formation of Telangana state.
Senior MP V. Hanumantha Rao said if Congress meets the demand for separate Telangana state, the party would win 15 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats in the region in the next year's elections.
Claiming that 1,000 people committed suicide over the delay in formation of Telangana state, he said the leadership should not further delay a decision.
Lok Sabha member from Secunderabad, Anjan Kumar Yadav, said only Telangana state with Hyderabad as its capital would be acceptable to them. "No other alternative will be acceptable," he said.
Earlier, the deputy CM led a motor bike rally. He along with other leaders paid tributes at Telangana martyrs' memorial in front of the assembly building before reaching the public meeting venue.
Unhappy over the delay in a decision by the leadership, two MPs and senior leader K. Keshava Rao had quit Congress party earlier this month to join TRS.
Following this development, the Congress leaders from the region decided to join hands and hold a meeting to convey their sentiments to the leadership. Telangana comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad.
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