Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy gave clear indications on Saturday that he was heading on a collision course with the Congress party’s Central leadership as he intensified his attack against its decision to divide the State.

Amid speculation that the Congress high command may ask him to fall in line or resign during his meeting with the Group of Ministers in Delhi on November 18, Mr. Reddy chose Rachabanda, the mass contact programme at Chillakallu (Krishna district) and Rajahmundry, as the platform to launch yet another vitriolic attack on the high command.

The tone and tenor of his speeches clearly showed that he was bracing for a showdown on November 18 by sticking to his oft-repeated stand in support of a united AP. “If the Centre is firm, we will not hesitate to take our own decisions.”

Hard hitting speeches

In his hard hitting speeches, the Chief Minister made known his displeasure against the division saying that he was trying his best to keep the State united. “I will continue my fight and I need your support,” he appealed to the people in Rajahmundry.

Highlighting the problems arising in the spheres of employment, revenue generation and security in the event of bifurcation, he said Telangana would suffer the most as it would not have enough revenue to take up infrastructure development.

The wage component alone in Telangana would rise by Rs. 5,000 crore while lift irrigation schemes would require Rs. 40,000 crore investment. The Chief Minister was candid in admitting that the decision of the Central government came as a bolt from the blue at a time when his government was planning to launch a slew of welfare and development projects. “Welfare schemes cannot be implemented with vigour if the State is divided. “We feel sorry about the turn of events,” he said at Chillakallu.