Though Congress returned to power in Andhra Pradesh in 2004 with the promise of Telangana state, Rajasekhara Reddy ensured the issue did not move forward beyond the customary talk on respecting the sentiments of people of the region.
The United Progressive Alliance [ Images ] government had constituted a committee headed by Pranab Mukherjee [ Images ] to look into the demand for Telangana state and possibly arrived at a consensus on bifurcation of the state. It took more than four years for the three-member committee to make out that there was no consensus on the issue despite the fact that all major and minor parties, barring the Communist Party of India-Marxist had supported the demand.
In fact, it was Congress that did not spell out its stand to the Pranab Mukherjee-led committee till it was quietly wound up. All India [ Images ] Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi [ Images ] always spoke only one word on the issue: "We are not opposed to Telangana."
Of course, to ward off criticism that he became the stumbling block in the creation of Telangana, Rajasekhara Reddy too constituted a committee of legislators on the very last day of the final session of the legislature early this year to look into issues relating to creation of Telangana.
The committee, for all practical purposes, remains only on paper. Now, with the Congress bagging 50 out of 119 assembly seats and 12 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana, it has become clear that the people of the region did not buy the argument that the ruling party "betrayed" them on separate statehood demand.
Of course, the Congress suffered many setbacks in the region with some of its top heads falling in the electoral battle. Notable among them were Pradesh Congress Committee president D Srinivas, ministers G Chinna Reddy, T Jeevan Reddy, G Vinod, J Ratnakar Rao, Md Fareeduddin, D Redya Naik and senior leader Palvai Govardhan Reddy.