Still defiant in his support for a united Andhra Pradesh, the Chief Minister was told he faced the prospect of being replaced
As the UPA government races against time to complete the various formalities for creation of a Telangana State, the Congress’s central leadership gave a stern warning to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who was here in the capital, to fall in line or face the prospect of being replaced.
However, finding a new CM, given that tempers are running high in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, will be no easy task, party leaders admitted, saying they were looking for an opportune moment to strike.
The Congress has been hoping that it will get enough support from other political parties from the State for Telangana for it to act.
Mr. Reddy, who flew back to Hyderabad on Saturday evening after meeting Central leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and attending the stormy discussions of the coordination committee on Friday, failed for the second time in 45 days — when he was last in the capital — to get an appointment with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
This is being read in party circles as a sign of Ms. Gandhi’s displeasure, though Mr. Reddy, when questioned, put a positive spin on it, saying she was engaged with State elections. The Chief Minister’s visit to the capital yielded a relief package for the cyclone affected in the State.
Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, in charge of Andhra Pradesh, is working overtime to persuade Mr. Reddy to accept the Congress Working Committee’s resolution on Telangana.
On Friday, Mr. Singh told journalists that Mr. Reddy had agreed to abide by the CWC decision but on Saturday Mr. Reddy rejected the idea outright, saying that might be the Congress general secretary’s view — he was still batting for a united Andhra Pradesh. At the coordination committee meeting, there were heated exchanges between Mr. Reddy and his Deputy Chief Minister, Damodar Rajanarasimha.
Faced with the displeasure of the Congress high command, on the one hand, and the wrath of his people, on the other, what was clear when Mr. Reddy flew back to Hyderabad was that he still resolutely supported a united Andhra Pradesh.