In the biggest policy reversal in its 26-year-long history, the Telugu Desam Party on Thursday announced its support to the formation of Telangana state by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh.
The decision was taken by the party politburo on Thursday at the end of three-day-long deliberations chaired by party president Chandrababu Naidu.
The 15-member politburo unanimously passed a resolution putting its seal of approval to the change of pro-integrationist stand of the party.
Announcing the decision Chandrababu Naidu told a crowded press conference, "The party took the decision after two and a half year long exercises and discussions taking in to account the changed circumstances and the strong aspirations of the people of the state."
He pointed out that the party has set up a five member core committee to go in to the issue of Telalangana, gather opinion of the party leaders of all the three regions of the state.
"The information gathered by the committee was processed and we arrived at this decision today," he said.
"After threadbare discussion on the findings of the core committee, respecting the sentiments of Telangana people and in accordance with their aspirations, the Politburo has taken a decision in favour of Telangana state," the resolution said.
Naidu hoped that the people of all the three regions, Telangana, coastal Andhra and Rayala Seema will respond to party's decision in a favourable manner and bless it.
Naidu said that as the TDP has always been straight and categorical in its stand on any issue, the people of Telangana will believe in its latest stand.
"In 2004 elections, we had taken a clear position in support of a united Andhra Pradesh. But after the elections, in the changed circumstances, the party had said that an appropriate decision will be taken at an appropriate time," Naidu said.
"Even after the decision in favour of Telangana state, the TDP will remain committed to the self respect, welfare and development of the Telugu people as a whole," Naidu added.
"TDP has been concentrating on the development of the backward areas from the beginning. It will continue its relentless efforts in this direction," the resolution said.
He lashed out at the Congress for betraying the faith of the people since the formation of Andhra Pradesh state in 1956 by not paying any attention to the development of the backward areas of the state.
"This led to anger and a sense of frustration among the people," he said.
The TDP president said that it was Congress, which always fanned separatist feelings in different regions for its political mileage. In 1969, the Congress was responsible for the separate Telangana agitation and in 1971 and 1972 for separate Andhra agitation.
"During the NTR rule, the present Chief Minister (YS Rajasekhara Reddy) raised the issue of Rayala Seema and in 1999 when I was the chief minister, he raked up Telangana issue by sending a delegation of Congress legislators to Sonia Gandhi and the President of India. It led to the formation of the TRS. In 2004 it fought the election on the basis of Telangana issue," Naidu said.
Chandrababu Naidu indicated at the formation of grand alliance with the Left parties and the CPI-M when he said that he called the leaders of CPI, CPI-M and the TRS to inform them about the Politburo's decision in favour of Telangana.
With this historic decision of the TDP, observers say, ruling Congress will soon be forced to take a categorical decision on Telangana issue.