Telangana Rashtra Samiti Chief and Union Labour Minister K Chandrasekara Rao and his party colleague in the United Progressive Alliance government A Narendra have decided to quit the ministry.
Rao will begin a indefinite hunger strike at the Jantar Mantar in the capital from Wednesday to press for their demand for separate state, TRS General Secretary and party spokesman V Prakash said.
The TRS, which has five members in the Lok Sabha, is also believed to be firm on quitting the coalition.
The letters of resignation of the two ministers are being sent across to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, TRS sources said in New Delhi after last minute efforts to sort out the issue arising out of his demand for separate Telangana state within the coalition failed.
TRS, which fought the 2004 Parliament and assembly elections pressing the demand for a separate Telangana state, is upset that there has been no progress on the issue.
Even if TRS withdraws its support, it may not affect the stability of the Congress-led coalition, which at the moment enjoys the support of about 330 members in the 545-member Lok Sabha. However, it may be seen as the first major political blow to the anti-BJP grouping.
The TRS has been having an uneasy relationship with the Congress, especially in Andhra Pradesh, where it has already pulled out of the coalition government and withdrew its support to the Rajasekhara Reddy government.
The UPA leadership including Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and leaders of various constituents like RJD, NCP and DMK appealed to Rao not to take any precipitate action.
Congress leader Digvijay Singh, who has been interacting with Rao, met him in a bid to persuade him to give up the plans for resignation. Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads a sub-committee of the UPA on Telangana, also met him.
Onkar Singh in New Delhi adds:
Earlier in the day, Rao had held a meeting with Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the chairman of the sub-committee on the formation of Telagana.
Others who were present at the meeting included Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Congress leader in charge of Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh. The Left parties were represented by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechuri, Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta and Revolutionary Socialist Party leader Abani Roy.
The Left parties took a strong stand against formation of new state. "We were against the formation of Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and Jharkhand. Likewise, we are against the formation of the new state of Telangana," Yechuri said.