Andhra Pradesh

Will Kiran go down as official liquidator of AP?

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy   | Photo Credit: G_RAMAKRISHNA

If Congress president Sonia Gandhi has her way and snuffs out the 57-year-long odyssey of Andhra Pradesh by carving it out into two States, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy may remain in history as the last Chief Minister.

In effect, the footnote in the final chapter in AP’s narrative will show Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy as the official liquidator of the State. An unpleasant responsibility to discharge even for breaking up a small company gone bankrupt, it is all the more unenviable task to supervise the division of a State and its people which he always opposed, especially for a person who has a long way to go in his political career.

It is not just the apportioning of assets, liabilities and funds one has to deal with, but with people’s emotions and contentious issues ranging from division of government jobs to sharing of Secretariat space and river waters even before the two new entities, whatever name and shape they are packaged in, come into existence.

Conscious of how he will be described as and when the requiem for Andhra Pradesh is written, Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy made no bones to the high command of his intention not to preside over the disintegration and asked to be relieved of the post of Chief Minister.

In fact, it is now well-known that he urged the party’s top brass in Delhi to find a replacement for him after the Congress Core Group just stopped short of formally announcing separate Telangana after its July 31 meeting.

His offer of resignation found its way into the media forcing Ms. Gandhi to instruct Mr. Reddy to issue a rejoinder. When the Core Group showed no inclination on Friday last to reconsider its decision, Mr. Reddy could only sulk and sit at home rather than in the Secretariat after reiterating to party bosses his desire to step down.

To a limited extent, Mr. Reddy has himself to blame for the predicament in which he has landed. He has made few friends within the Cabinet and in the Congress party, either in New Delhi or in Hyderabad to lend a sympathetic ear.

Not that the high command would have treated him less shabbily that it set aside even the opinion proffered by Governor E. S. L. Narasimhan, whom it hand-picked for being a well-informed person by virtue of his stint as former Intelligence Bureau.

Having rejected the advice of the Governor as well as the Chief Minister, the Congress could have done well to avoid floating Rayala-Telangana, a proposal unacceptable to people of all regions and politicians of all hues and one which did not find favour with the Srikrishna Committee.

There is neither cultural affinity between the two regions nor a shared history to justify such a strange manner of bifurcation.

It is plain arithmetic to suit the Congress party’s calculations of having 21 Lok Sabha seats in the two rumps left after division and winning a majority in Telangana where it would get public approval.

A version doing the rounds to justify the decision is that Ms. Gandhi is intent upon fulfilling the commitment her party gave on separate Telangana. This seems to have convinced very few as there is no overt display of joy and celebrations in Telangana or any sense of despondence in Seemandhra after the Congress’ stand become clear.

The overwhelming feeling among parties is that the motive behind the entire exercise is to win votes and seats at whatever cost.

Some like TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu, who has been refusing to talk to the media for several days, is that the Congress leadership is playing mind games to create chaos and confusion in the Opposition ranks. Either way, the refrain goes, the Congress is placing party’s interests above those of the people to derive maximum electoral gains in 2014.


This article has been corrected for a typo error

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 10:28:30 AM |

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