‘Save Andhra Pradesh’ meet held in Hyderabad; MPs will be answerable, says Ashok Babu

Announcing its firm resolve to continue the ongoing struggle, the Samaikyandhra Joint Action Committee (JAC) has said that it will stage a ‘million march’ here to mount pressure on the Congress to reverse its decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh as it is fraught with adverse consequences impacting lives of all sections.

Addressing an impressive gathering of Seemandhra employees at the Lal Bahadur Stadium here on Saturday, AP Non-Gazetted Officers’ Association president Ashok Babu asserted that their struggle was not targeted against Telangana employees or their agitation for a separate State. But it was against the Centre’s nod for bifurcation of the State without considering its severe impact on the employees, students, farmers and other sections.

The “Save Andhra Pradesh” meeting, as it was branded, belied fears of stoking trouble and was remarkable for the restraint exercised by the speakers and the absence of rabble-rousing speeches that had become the hallmark of most rallies nowadays. Mr. Ashok Babu consistently appealed to the speakers to steer clear of politics and avoid mention of individuals and parties.

There were minor incidents of slogan shouting in favour of Telangana and waving of black flags, but the organisers ensured that things did not go out of hand through repeated appeals to participants not to get provoked.

Mr. Ashok Babu said the event, held under the banner of Samikyandhra JAC, marked the beginning of a protracted struggle to ensure that the Centre backed out of its decision to divide the State.

He took an indirect dig at the Seemandhra MPs for not standing united in contrast to their Telangana counterparts.

“These MPs will be answerable to the people when they return to the State,” he said and added that people were not asking them to quit politics, but only to send their resignation as it would surely put pressure on the Centre to roll back its decision.

The APNGOs’ Association announced plans to expand the struggle to all the 23 districts in the coming days to bring onto a single platform all those in favour of a united State.

Saturday’s meeting was organised to air fears of the Seemandhra people who were set to lose jobs, infrastructure and other key sectors in the event of bifurcation of the State. “There is no provision for a referendum in our democracy and, hence, the protest meeting,” he said.

Joint capital

Several arguments were being put forward on development of two States with Hyderabad as a joint capital for 10 years. But there was no reply to the question as to what the Seemandhra government was supposed to do when it would neither have a capital nor infrastructure.

“The joint capital status is like having a king without a kingdom. Where do the people of other region represent their issues and with whom should they fight to get their grievances resolved? How do we fill the gap created by absence of industry, institutions of excellence and other infrastructure that are must for the development?” he asked.

Expressing concern that a handful of political parties were supporting division for political gains, he said the employees would lose seniority and promotional avenues once the zonal system was scrapped. The public transport system would face closure due to accumulating losses while over seven lakh pensioners would suffer.