Upping the ante further against bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said he was even prepared to step down if this helped in keeping the State united.

Significantly, he also stated that he would continue his fight against division by remaining in the Congress and indicated that he no effort would be spared to stall the effort of the UPA government and the Congress to bifurcate the State.

Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy was addressing separate meetings at Chodavaram in Visakhapatnam district and Poduru in West Godavari organised in connection with Rachabanda, mass contact programme. Reiterating his commitment to a united Andhra Pradesh, he said that he would echo the sentiments of the people when he met the Group of Ministers in New Delhi on November 18. “I am not one who says one thing here and speaks in a different tongue there,” he said.

Thousands of people, who until then seemed to be passive listeners at the Chodavaram meeting, became active as Mr. Reddy spoke out his mind on ‘Samaikyandhra’ and underlined the importance of unity. Telangana would stand to lose more than Seemandhra region and “we shouldn’t allow that to happen,” he said.

Mr. Reddy devoted only a few minutes to list his Government’s welfare measures and said: ““It is unfortunate that the Centre has taken a decision to divide the State. Only after all parties gave their approval that the Congress took the decision. ”

In the event of bifurcation, the expenditure in both the States would grow by 50 per cent but the revenue of the governments would decrease. The Maoist problem would resurface, power consumption would increase and several irrigation projects would have to go without water.

At Poduru, he asserted that he was more concerned about the unity of the State than holding on to his position. He reiterated his appeal to the Centre and the Congress leadership to revisit their decision to create a separate Telangana State.