The initiative triggers speculation that it is a bid to upstage Kiran

With no respite from the ongoing Seemandhra agitation, several Ministers led by Anam Ramanarayana Reddy have made a strong pitch to the Centre to depute a team of Ministers and experts to the State and address the people’s concerns.

Their stand is a departure from the tough posture adopted by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy who is uncompromising in his opposition to division of the State. They feel that with the Congress high command not budging, the best option was to bargain hard with the Centre for giving sops to Seemandhra.

These Ministers, nine in number, and Union Minister K. Chiranjeevi met at Mr. Ramanarayana Reddy’s house on Tuesday to discuss their political strategy, allegedly to upstage the Chief Minister. The meeting also triggered speculation that it was the high command that was egging Ministers on to take on Mr. Kiran Reddy for his open defiance of the CWC’s stand.

PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana, N. Raghuveera Reddy, Vatti Vasant Kumar, C. Ramachandraiah, Dokka Manikya Varaprasad, Kondru Murali Mohan and P. Balaraju were present. Later, the PCC chief left for New Delhi to meet AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh.

A Minister told The Hindu that the onus was now on them to convince the AICC to meet the aspirations of the people of Seemandhra. If they did not act now, the YSR Congress would stand to gain at the expense of the ruling party’s prospects.

For the record, Mr. Ramanarayana Reddy told reporters that they would go ahead with the slogan of “Save AP” and “Save Congress” campaign. “We are hopeful that the Antony Committee will tour AP and get first hand feel of the situation. Mr. Satyanarayana and Mr. Chiranjeevi have been entrusted the task of convincing the leadership,” he said.

In contrast, a senior Minister considered close to Mr. Kiran Reddy saw the meeting as a clever ploy to undermine the Chief Minister. He said one of the nine Ministers met the Chief Minister and suggested that he issue a statement hinting an arrangement wherein Hyderabad could remain a common capital for more than 10 ten years before division of the State.

Mr. Kiran Reddy reportedly brushed aside the suggestion stating that he would fight till the last to keep the State united. He expressed the view that these leaders, who were claiming to be party loyalists, had other agenda on their minds.

Interestingly, Ministers – Ganta Srinivasa Rao and S. Sailajanath and Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal, all considered close to the Chief Minister, met separately to take stock of the situation.

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