Seemandhra leaders, Ministers forced to toe party line
Within less than 75 days of the Congress Working Committee’s decision on division of the State, the party’s central leadership has successfully silenced the voice of Seemandhra leaders and forced one after the other to fall in line.
With each passing day, the path for bifurcation appears to be turning hassle-free as State and Central Ministers, besides the elected representatives, are toeing the party line.
Central Ministers from AP seemed to have completely misread the situation by not giving much credence initially to the protests in their region. They believed that the protests were orchestrated and allegedly had the backing of the government too.
Barring statements opposing division, they met the central leadership with a plea to withdraw the decision. Putting in the papers was not on their agenda as they felt that the demonstrations would subside in a few days.
Once they began to face the heat, four of them – M. M. Pallam Raju, D. Purandeswari, K. Chiranjeevi and Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy -- forwarded their resignation letters to the Prime Minister for acceptance.
The high command said there was no going back on division and left to them the decision whether to remain in the Cabinet or quit. Instead of pressing for the resignations, they preferred to remain in office.
Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, Panabaka Lakshmi, J.D. Seelam, Killi Kruparani and K.C. Deo rejected the demand for resignation and harped on getting a package for Seemandhra region as they felt division was inevitable. Some of them said they would not quit or even lock horns with the Central leaders as becoming a Minister was once in a lifetime opportunity.
Sources said the Union Ministers, who met GoM merely pleaded for making Hyderabad a Union Territory.
On their part, the Congress MPs are confused about their future course of action after rejection of their resignation letters, though some are relieved at the development. Some are planning to meet the Lok Sabha Speaker again to press for acceptance of their resignations. Leaders are also surprised at the softening of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s stand. They attribute it to the warning by the Congress high command to tackle the agitation by the Government employees or face the prospect of President’s rule. The result was the APNGOs coming on to the negotiating table and agreeing to call off their strike.
The number of leaders remaining in Chief Minister’s camp is also dwindling, which the high command feels is a welcome sign.