Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Days after the Congress party rejected the Left parties’ demand for resignation of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister over the Khammam firings, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Thursday, termed the claim as a “friendly demand”.

On his first visit to the Capital after the incident, he emphasised that the Left parties had the right to maintain their political identity and were attempting to create pressure in order to “speed up” the housing scheme for the poor launched by his Government.

He said political parties should desist from bandh calls as it puts people to inconvenience. As for police firing, he said, whether it was Basheerbagh, Khammam, Singur or Nandigram, it was the poor who suffer. However, he stressed, that as a “responsive” Government, prompt action was taken against police officials, ex-gratia announced and a judicial probe instituted. “Ask others whether they did so?” he asked.

Not acceptable

The Chief Minister said the demand by the Left parties for an independent commission to oversee the implementation of land distribution issue was not acceptable. He said the Government was accountable to the people through the Assembly and wondered to whom an independent commission would be accountable. In his meeting with Union Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, the State Government sought a portion in the profit-sharing agreement the Centre has with private exploration company working in Krishna-Godavari basin.

New pipelines

He said since the State Government was providing free power to farmers, additional revenue would be useful to augment resources. The State also sought permission to lay pipelines to create a gas grid for domestic and industrial use. The Chief Minister also met Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni and requested her to expedite decision on conferring “classical language” status for Telugu and financial assistance for the “Southern Splendour” railway circuit planned by the State Government.