Chief Minister dares high command to pass it in Parliament

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy openly defied the Congress high command again on Saturday when he vowed to oppose every feature of the A. P. State Reorganisation Bill in the Assembly and dared the leadership to pass it in Parliament.

Virtually raising the banner of revolt against the AICC, he declared: “We will see how the Bill is passed in Parliament. United Andhra Pradesh is not just a slogan, it’s our policy.” He was addressing a public meeting in Vijayawada after inaugurating the Rs. 1,800-crore Pulichintala irrigation project across the Krishna river.

On a day when the Seemandhra region observed a bandh, the Centre was at the receiving end of criticism by two other Union Ministers also and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu, who faulted the entire bifurcation process and accused the Cabinet of ignoring the concerns of the Seemandhra region and being oblivious to ground realities.

Mr. Reddy accused his party leadership of being ungrateful to the people of Andhra Pradesh and, in fact, punishing them by dividing them, though they had stood by the Congress during every crisis. In fact, they had sent 33 Congress MPs to the Lok Sabha in the 2009 general election.

Accusing the leadership of yielding to the logic of other parties — the TRS, the YSR Congress and the TDP — he said: “You cannot divide the State to please Chandrasekhar Rao, Jaganmohan Reddy or N. Chandrababu Naidu. You appoint one of them as the Chief Minister, but keep A.P. united.”

Union Minister for Textiles K.S. Rao, who has drawn flak from Congress MLAs for not resigning, said he was ready to quit if it helped to stall the division. Another Union Minister D. Purandeswari, who had announced her resignation as Minister, wrote a letter of protest to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and declared she would vote against the Bill in Parliament if the concerns of Seemandhra were not adequately addressed. Union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi has already urged Ms. Gandhi to accept his resignation from the Council of Ministers.