I am no astrologer, says Chief Minister on bifurcation of State; makes light of defections

Breaking his silence over speculation that he will soon launch a new political party, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said he had only suggested to Congress leaders at a brainstorming session that they could decide the future course of action after the Assembly session.

Recalling the context in which he had made these observations, Mr. Reddy said that during his visit to East Godavari district some time ago, Ministers and Congress MLAs expressed concern over their political future after bifurcation of the State. “I told them that after the debate on bifurcation Bill is over, we can have a two-day session to discus the strategy.”

He had advised his colleagues to focus on the debate before thinking about the future. He had spoken only about the brain storming session and “anything beyond that is your imagination,” he told journalists here.

Mr. Reddy said it (launch of a party) was not a simple issue which could be discussed casually. “We have to consider the pros and cons as it concerns all of us.” Asked why he was going against the Congress high command, he said: “I tried to convince them against dividing the State. But they did not listen. So I am now going to the people.” He made light of defections saying that more than 30 MLAs had left the party since the last three years.

Mr. Reddy parried a question whether he believed that the State would be divided. “I am not an astrologer to predict what is in store,” he said.