“Efforts will be made to convey the message that package for the region is due to our leaders’ efforts”

Admitting that the Congress party was on the back-foot in Seemandhra after division of the State, Pradesh Congress Committee president Botcha Satyanarayana has said that senior leaders would now go all out to convince the aggrieved people about the special package for all round development of the residuary Andhra Pradesh.

The onus of taking the decisions of the Centre to the people now lies with the State Congress leaders, who will take the lead and work hard. “Although it will be a Herculean task, party seniors will make efforts to reach out to the people and highlight the package given to the region,” he noted. He said never in the history had the Union Government announced a massive package for a State that was being divided.

In an interview to The Hindu on Saturday, Mr. Satyanarayana spoke at length about the party’s position in Seemandhra after bifurcation, action plan to revive the party’s fortunes, impact of proposed new party by former Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Pointing out that bifurcation had angered people, the PCC chief said it was a tough decision for the Congress too. “The decision became inevitable,” Mr. Satyanarayana said adding that two days before the AP Reorganisation Bill 2014 was taken up in the Lok Sabha, a large delegation of Seemandhra leaders, including Union Ministers, had met the high command and tried to seek a fair deal for the region. “We raised six issues of which four were conceded and demand for making Hyderabad as Union Territory and merging Kurnool and Anantapur in Telangana were turned down,” he said.

Defectors

Asked about defections, he said only those leaders, who had vested interests were ditching the Congress. “On the eve of elections, it is a general phenomenon. We had already drawn a list of Ministers and MLAs, who were planning to quit the Congress. There could be few more leaders,” he said.

He refused to comment on proposed new party of Kiran Kumar Reddy but faulted him for defying the high command on the bifurcation issue. “We had insisted that all the Ministers and MLAs should have resigned to put pressure on the Centre. What is the use of resigning now after the entire process is completed,” he remarked.

To a question, he said it was the Congress party alone that gave due recognition to the weaker sections and the backward classes in term of position.

On President’s Rule

On President’s Rule, the PCC chief said had the State Congress leaders convinced the high command earlier about formation of a new Government, President’s Rule would not have been imposed. “We did have the numbers to form the Government. But we did not put the right efforts for installation of a popular Government,” the PCC chief said when asked why the Centre preferred to go for President’s Rule.