Congress's Telangana hopes fade as TRS rules out merger

All efforts of the Congress that managed to push through the bill for carving out a Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh have now come to naught with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K Chandrasekhar Rao ruling out any possibility of merger with the party ahead of the upcoming general elections.

The Congress managed to get the `AP Reorganisation Bill' passed in the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha, opening the way for the creation of the 29th state - Telangana, in the hope that the TRS would merge with the Congress as agreed to by the Telangana agitators.

Addressing members of the party in Hyderabad, Chandrasekhar Rao said, ''No merger with Congress under any circumstance.'' He, however, said the party may consider alliance with like-minded parties.

Rao also criticised the UPA government's decision to give special category status to the residuary Seemandhra region while denying it to the new state of Telangana. He said TRS would challenge the move in the Supreme Court.

The TRS chief had, last year, made a statement that TRS would merge with the Congress. However, Rao now says he had given such an assurance on condition that
Telangana would be formed unconditionally.

Rao also opposed the plan to make Hyderabad the joint capital saying "Hyderabad is our proud capital and our hereditary property".

Top leadership of TRS also denied reports that the party had indicated any willingness to merge with the Congress in recent meetings with the prime minister and the Congress chief.

''We had met the prime minister, the Congress president and the vice-president to thank them for their efforts for passage of Telangana bill," a TRS leader said, adding that nothing beyond that transpired at the meetings.

"A merger is unlikely between the two parties since 90 per cent of TRS leaders are against it," he claimed.

Congress leader in charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh had, on the other hand, claimed that a merger of the TRS with it was sure to come.

Meanwhile, expelled Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MP Vijayashanti and another legislator from the party, Arvind Reddy, have joined the Congress. Both are opposed to TRS chief K Chadrasekhara Rao and the party.