The passage of Telangana Bill in Lok Sabha on Tuesday sparked celebrations across the ten districts of the region even as Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, strongly espousing the cause for keeping the state united, appeared set to quit his post in protest.
YSR Congress, in the forefront of the agitation against division of Andhra Pradesh, has called for a bandh on Wednesday in the state in protest against the passage of the Bill.
“This is the black day in the history of this country,” YSRC president and Kadapa MP, Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, told reporters in Delhi.
The ruling Congress suffered a setback in Coastal Andhra, with state Infrastructure and Investment Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao quitting his post and the party in protest against the Centre going ahead with the state’s division.
“A decision (regarding division) was taken against people’s wishes…,” said Rao, a former MP and an influential leader in north coastal Andhra, who was elected in 2009 from Anakapalle in Visakhapatnam district on the ticket of Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam, which later merged with Congress.
A defiant Chief Minister has invited his loyalist ministers and legislators for a meeting tomorrow to formally communicate his decision to quit, according to state Social Welfare Minister Pitani Satyanarayana.
“The Chief Minister will address a press conference at 10.45 AM and then proceed to Raj Bhavan to hand over his resignation to Governor E S L Narasimhan,” the minister, one of the his close followers, said.
As the news of the passage trickled in, chants of “Jai Telangana” rented the air in many parts of the region, where a festive atmosphere prevailed with the separate statehood supporters bursting crackers, distributing sweets, taking out victory rallies and dancing to the tunes of popular songs hailing Telangana.
A large number of students gathered in Osmania University here, the nerve-centre of separate statehood agitation, and danced in joy.
Congress activists at some places in Telangana rejoiced distributing sweets and held pictures showing their party president Sonia Gandhi in the image of ‘Telangana Talli’ (Telangana mother).
“Greetings to Telangana people. This is the result of a long struggle. The bill will be passed in Rajya Sabha tomorrow. We thank Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj, CPI General Secretary Sudhakar Reddy and each one of those who supported separate Telangana bill. We are actually at loss of words to express our joy,” Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) chairman M Kodandaram said.
APNGOs, a powerful union of employees from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema who have been agitating against the division, slammed the passage of the Bill.
“People will not forget this. They will teach a lesson to this government. People (of Seemandhra) need not feel sad. We have to move ahead in such a way the loss is minimal on account of state’s division,” APNGOs’ president P Ashok Babu, who also heads the forum for protection of united AP, said in Delhi.
Security in Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh was on Tuesday beefed up and forces were put on alert to meet any eventuality
on law and order front.
“We are monitoring the situation… police in districts have already been asked to be on alert… depending upon the situation we will take appropriate action,” Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) VSK Kaumudi said.