Hyderabad: In a setback for the ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh, three of its legislators from the Telangana region Sunday quit the party and joined the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
Accusing the Congress of going back on its word on carving out a separate Telangana state, Jupally Krishna Rao, S. Satyanarayana and T. Rajaiah resigned from the party.
After sending their resignation letters to state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, the legislators reached Telangana Bhavan, the TRS headquarters to join the sub-regional party, which is fighting for separate statehood for Telangana.
The legislators criticised Congress president Sonia Gandhi, blaming her for the suicides of scores of Telangana supporters and the prevailing uncertainty in in the region.
TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao termed the development as only the beginning. He claimed that many more legislators are ready to join TRS.
Earlier, addressing a joint news conference, the legislators accused Congress party of going back on its Dec 9, 2009 promise to initiate the process for forming a Telangana state.
'The situation in Telangana should be an eye-opener for the Congress party and its leaders in the region. We are ready to make any sacrifice for the cause,' said Krishna Rao, who also urged all ministers and legislators from Telangana to resign.
'We have resigned to actively participate in Telangana movement in line with the aspirations of the people of the region,' said Rajaiah, legislator from Station Ghanpur in Warangal district.
'There is public anger in the region against Congress party. People feel the party betrayed them and is responsible for suicide of 700 youth. No Congress leader in Telangana is in a position to move around with the party flag,' Krishna Rao said.
Krishna Rao, who represents Kollapur constituency in Mahabubnagar district, had resigned as state minister in May to put pressure on the party leadership to take a decision in favour of the separate state.
Satyanarayana from Ramagundam in Karimnagar is an associate member of Congress. He was elected as an Independent in 2009 elections.
The legislators also accused Congress government of acting in an undemocratic manner to suppress the Telangana movement.
The state Congress chief has termed as 'unfortunate' the resignations of three legislators.
He, however, said their move was not linked to Telangana issue and alleged that the legislators quit due to their personal agenda. Botsa Satyanarayana hoped that the central leadership of the party would soon take a decision on Telangana.
The Congress may face more trouble on Telangana issue as another of its legislators, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, who resigned as state minister Oct 1, has threatened to quit the party if it failed to make a clear announcement on Telangana.
Venkat Reddy is set to launch an indefinite hunger strike in his native Nalgonda town from Nov 1.
Twenty-six Congress legislators loyal to YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy submitted their resignations in August. The speaker, however, has not yet taken a decision on the resignations.
In the 294-member assembly, Congress has 155 members and requires 147 for a simple majority. If the resignations of all 26 party legislators loyal to Jaganmohan Reddy and three from Telangana are accepted, its tally will come down to 126.
However, the government says there is no threat as Praja Rajyam Party, which has 17 legislators, has already merged with Congress. It is also confident of getting the support of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, which has seven legislators.