Likely to resign once T-Bill is passed in Parliament

Ending days of suspense, it is now certain that Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy will launch a new political party once the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill is passed in the Parliament.

The Chief Minister, who has been holding extensive consultations with the Seemandhra leaders in the last few days, got the much needed backing on Sunday when a majority of them gave the go ahead for the new party.

The meeting assumed significance in wake of the talk that the Chief Minister would announce his resolve to resign his post as the Centre was determined to go ahead with the bifurcation Bill ignoring the concerns of the Seemandhra region.

Two-point agenda

The two-point agenda in the meeting was to take a final call on resignation and spell out the strategy for starting the new party. Several Ministers and the MLAs wanted him to wait for some more days before putting in his papers, Mr. Reddy is said to have made it clear that he would not cling to power once the Bill was taken up for debate.

Adding credence to the talk of new party, Law Minister Erasu Pratap Reddy said: “He (Chief Minister) will surely form a new party in the coming days.” Another Minister T. G. Venkatesh asserted that new party was historic necessity.

Former Minister J.C.Diwakar Reddy reportedly said it would be futile to start the party, if division was completed.

But, another former Minister told The Hindu that Mr. Reddy seemed inclined to launch a new party as he felt that his credibility and commitment on united AP would overshadow the claims of the TDP and the YSR Congress party and garner support for him.

Another senior Minister Shatrucharla Vijayarama Raju, however, said the Chief Minister had not discussed about the new party.

Dissuaded from quitting

A former Minister said Mr. Reddy had confided that he could quit on February 18 or 19 but has been dissuaded by colleagues to wait for some more time as BJP maintained that the Bill was not introduced.

Mr. Pratap Reddy said: “Why should you resign when the bill has not been introduced?” Minister for Infrastructure Ganta Srinivasa Rao said: “The Chief Minister is committed to resigning and told us in no uncertain terms his plan to relinquish his post.”

Senior Ministers skip meeting

As many as seven Ministers, 28 MLAs and eight MLCs attended the meeting. Ministers -- Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Shatrucharla Vijayaramaraju, T. G. Venkatesh, Erasu Pratap Reddy, Pithani Satyanarayana, Kasu Venkatakrishna Reddy were present.

Significantly, senior Ministers like Botcha Satyanarayana, Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, N. Raghuveera Reddy, Kanna Lakshminaryana and over a dozen others skipped the meeting.

Earlier in the day, Union Ministers – M.M.Pallam Raju and Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy met the Chief Minister to discuss the latest political developments.