The Congress leadership is learnt to have obtained written commitment from Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Rajanarsimha and the AP Congress Committee president Botcha Satyanarayana before they attended the party’s core committee meeting held on last Friday.
Sources told The Hindu that the three leaders were made to sign an undertaking that they would abide by the party decision, when the mini-Core Committee meeting, attended by AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh and Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was held at the ‘war room’ at Rakabgunj Gurudwara Road in New Delhi on Friday.
Speculation was rife in the party circles that the Chief Minister is learnt to have preferred to quit rather than becoming a party to the bifurcation of the State. However, a senior Minister said the three could have signed the letters to prove that they would not violate the party line.
Ministers, who interacted with the Chief Minister in the last two days, maintain that the latter was not in his usual elements and chose to present a picture of disappointment at the goings on. He reportedly confided to his aides on how the high command could back the separate State demand in spite of the convincing presentation he made against the division.
An overwhelming majority of the Seemandhra Congress leaders have come to a firm conclusion after their meetings with the Chief Minister and other leaders that bifurcation was a matter of time. A couple of Ministers, who spoke to The Hindu on Sunday, said they would follow whatever decision the Chief Minister would take after the high command formally communicated its decision. “We are firm on quitting our Ministerial berths, not the party positions. With each passing day, it is becoming clearer that the high command is in no mood to listen to our view point. It is more concerned about the numbers in the next elections,” a senior Minister, who was part of the team that signed a memorandum presented to the high command said. The Ministers are reluctant to quit the party because of thegood showing in the panchayat elections. Some Ministers were critical of the statements made by colleagues, particularly by T. G. Venkatesh, that Chief Minister’s body language hinted that he was planning to resign.