Union Minister Jairam Ramesh has said that the special category status given to the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh was only because of the persistent demands of the MLAs and MPs of Seemandhra and not at the instance of the BJP, as is being claimed.

Speaking at a press conference here on Thursday, Mr. Jairam Ramesh said the assurance that Seemandhra interests would be protected had come from none other than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and that too on the floor of the House in the Rajya Sabha. “Prime Minister is Prime Minister - a continuing entity and that is why the assurance gains importance,” he pointed out.

Referring to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s stance in the recent past, ever since the CWC had given the nod for carving out Telangana as the 29 State of India, the Union Minister minced no words describing him as a ‘different kind of batsman’ and one who had exceeded the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of the party high command while continuing as Chief Minister. “Much of the bitterness could have been avoided if only he had exercised restraint,” he regretted.

As for actor-turned-MP, K. Chiranjeevi, who opened the discussion in the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Ramesh said, had ‘bowled a googly’ by proclaiming his opposition to bifurcation, and described him as a different kind of batsman. He also pointed out how while members of the TDP were for bifurcation, two others from the same party were against.

About the way forward, he said the time for agitation was over and it was now time for administering the two States. “We have seen agitators and what we need today are sober, responsible administrators,” he said, adding that reconciliation was urgently needed and implementation of the Bill depended on a political climate of cooperation and reconciliation. He reiterated that what was important now was the notified date - when President Pranab Mukherjee would give his approval and the appointed date - from which the two States would function.