The opposition in Andhra Pradesh, now demanding a 'unified Andhra' have accused Home Minister P. Chidambaram of acting on vested interests, conspiring to split the State and compounding an already volatile situation.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram was on Saturday criticised by two opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh - Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) - which said he was “adding fuel to fire” over the contentious Telangana issue.
Mr. Chidambaram also became the target of attack of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with the party alleging that his statements on the separate statehood demand were only compounding the confusion.
“He (Chidambaram) is against the bifurcation of his native State, Tamil Nadu, but is ready to divide AP [Andhra Pradesh]. Why these double standards? It only exposes the vengeful attitude of Chidambaram against the fast-developing Andhra Pradesh,” TDP senior MLAs Dhulipalla Narendra Kumar and Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy said here.
Addressing a press conference at the Telugu Desam Legislature Party office, the MLAs alleged that the Union Home Minister was “adding fuel to fire” through his statements on the Telangana issue and pushing AP into further turmoil.
“Except vested interests, there is absolutely no basis for division of AP. If backwardness is a basis for bifurcation, then there are many backward areas even in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions,” they said.
They wondered how the Centre could go ahead with the proposed bifurcation of the State when there was no consensus even within the ruling United Progressive Alliance.
“Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee and Dayanidhi Maran have opposed the formation of Telangana. Even the Samajwadi Party and the Rashtriya Janata Dal are also against this. Why are you not taking this into account? Moreover, has the Union Cabinet ever discussed the bifurcation issue and framed any guidelines for that,” the leaders questioned Mr. Chidambaram.
Mr. Narendra and Mr. Gopalakrishna took strong exception to the all-party meeting convened by the Centre on January 5, saying that it has been done even before normalcy returned to the State. “This will only stoke the passions further and worsen the situation in Andhra Pradesh,” they claimed.
On the other hand, TDP politburo member Nagam Janardhana Reddy, a Telangana supporter, too lashed out at Mr. Chidambaram saying his statements on Statehood issue “lacked consistency”.
“He (Chidambaram) is speaking one thing in New Delhi and another in Chennai. He seems to be ignoring the people’s wishes on such a critical issue,” Mr. Nagam said.
Senior Praja Rajyam Party leader, K. Kala Venkata Rao came down on Mr. Chidambaram alleging that a deep conspiracy was being hatched under his leadership to split Andhra Pradesh, the largest State in south India. “If backwardness is the reason for the proposed bifurcation of AP, then the country should also be divided into a thousand pieces,” he said.
Senior BJP leader and former Union minister Ch. Vidyasagar Rao said in Karimnagar that Mr. Chidambaram’s statements on the separate Statehood demand were only compounding the confusion.
“The Congress itself doesn’t have a clear view on the Telangana issue. Then there is no meaning for the all-party meeting on the 5th,” Mr. Vidyasagar Rao said.
They asked why Congress was keen only on Telangana but not on other demands like Vidarbha, Koorg, Bundelkhand, Harit Pradesh or Gorkhaland.
The TDP leaders also alleged that the Union Home Minister and Law Minister Veerappa Moily had personally hatched a conspiracy to divide fast developing Andhra Pradesh into two states.
However, the TDP leaders were unable to clarify party President Chandrababu Naidu’s stand on the issue of Telangana. According to TDP workers, Mr. Naidu is consulting with leaders from all districts and the final decision will be taken by Januray 4.