N Nagaraja Rao
A sulking Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Kiran Kumar Reddy who did not attend the Secretariat from the past ten days choose to convene a Press conference in Hyderabad virtually defying the Congress High Command to bifurcate the State and almost made his displeasure known at the hasty decision by his party. He foresees possibility of a prolonged legal battle between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for water, power and infrastructure if consensus is not reached before bifurcation. He rolled out many issues including problems arising of out irrigation needs of both region and power deficit and mocked at the Centre citing mishandling of Cauvery river water dispute and problems over sharing of Tunagbhadra waters from Karnataka, recalled that the accords signed by Haryana and Punjab were scrapped after their division.
He blamed late YSR for igniting the Telangana issue in 2001-02 much before the TRS came into existence. Chief Minister who hails from the Rayalseema region without disguiding his preference of a united Andhra declared that the division would lead to bigger problems and cautioned millions of farmers in Seemandhra and Telangana regions of the serious consequences of division of the State. He decreed that in eagerness to give a new State, we should not invite bigger problems.
Kiran Kumar Reddy left none in doubt that he will not buckle under pressure and is “prepared for everything.” His next move will, however, depend on how Delhi reacts to his lengthy press conference. Will it be prepared to sacrifice Kiran and give him a sort of “hero” image in Seemandhra at a time when the region is already on the boil? Will it use the shut down in most parts of the State as a good enough ruse to impose President’s rule? Or, will it just ignore him for sometime and silently go ahead with whatever it intends to do is the question that begs answer soon after his press conference? Politically it may be seen as ensuring his future in the Andhra and Rayalseema region post bifurcation and made known to be seen batting for United State reflecting sentiments on ground in Andhra and Rayalseema regions.
BJP State president G Kishan Reddy said Kiran’s remarks are part of a ‘bigger game plan’ of the Congress to mislead people. He demanded that the Congress should come out openly on Telangana in the wake of Kiran’s pro-Seemandhra comments. TRS floor leader in Assembly E Rajender asked Telangana ministers to submit resignations in protest against Kiran’s remarks. Telugu Desam MLA E Dayakar Rao said the CM’s remarks confirmed reports that none other than the Chief Minister is backing the Seemandhra agitation.
Rayalaseema and Andhra towns were on the boil with protests and shutdowns continuing for the ninth day against the Central Government’s decision to divide Andhra Pradesh to carve out a separate Telangana state.
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from Kadapa, Anantapur and Kurnool districts, where protestors clashed with the police. Statues of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi were desecrated. Portraits of Rahul and Sonia Gandhi were humiliated by burning them. State Ministers from these regions say that they have not been able to enter their constituencies.
Sonia Gandhi in the pursuit of narrow intrigue against YSR Congress recklessly committed her party to a separate Telangana in order to counter him. Now that promise is sticking like a bone in the throat, the Congress cannot swallow the commitment nor spit it out.
By a hasty announcement of separate Telangana the Congress blundered into a situation in which it will alienate its support in the rest of Andhra Pradesh without significantly increasing it within Telangana. Worse, it could provoke a spate of similar demands for smaller states all over the nation which the UPA administration is ill equipped to address.
This tradition of heroically asserting principles and denying the popular demands and finally submitting to violence is what has been exhibited once again by the Congress-led by Sonia Maino (Gandhi) in regard to Telengana. It is significant that Her Imperial Majesty the President for 15 continuous years of the Congress- I, has not spoken one word either for or against the de-merger of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telengana choose to address the issue when the elections are at hand.