Having resigned as Andhra Pradesh chief minister and from the Congress, N Kiran Kumar Reddy accused the party’s central leadership of having worked in tandem with the BJP in getting the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill passed, and predicted it would suffer in the polls. Excerpts from an interview to The Indian Express:
Now that you have quit, what are your future plans? Are you forming a new party?
Nothing so far. For me forming a new party or remaining chief minister is not a priority. The effort right now is to stop this wrong, unconstitutional move. As for my future plans, I will take that decision after talking to MLAs and MPs. But let me say this, we are all hurt that (despite) having been loyal Congressmen for decades, our voice wasn’t heard. What happened yesterday is there for everyone to see. It was shameful. Elected MPs were thrown out, telecast was stopped, everything was secretive.
Do you think the creation of Telangana will help the Congress in the elections?
No. In fact, it will be the other way round. The BJP has taken our leadership for a ride and our leaders too worked in tandem with the BJP, which has no base in Andhra Pradesh, to get an unconstitutional bill passed. It is political suicide by the Congress. Our leaders seem to have forgotten that Andhra has always remained loyal to the Congress. Even when the party under Mrs Indira Gandhi lost after Emergency, the Congress got 41 seats in Andhra. But, now there is no chance.
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Why are you so opposed to the creation of Telangana?
It is simply that if Andhra Pradesh is divided, the state will suffer. Let’s look at figures. All major educational institutes and hospitals are in Hyderabad, while all major power projects are in Seemandhara. Almost 90 per cent of the state’s information technology industry is based in Hyderabad where people from both regions are employed. In the event of bifurcation, there will be a resurgence of Naxalism in both states. If Telanagana is created, it will create a huge power shortage as well as an irrigation water shortfall. Ultimately, it will be the people who will bear the brunt of this hasty decision.
You have also been stressing the issue of Article 371-D.
Yes, of course. The division would raise many problems. What will be the status of those who were recruited as per the presidential order? No amount of special packages for any region will resolve these issues if the state is divided.
Didn’t you bring these issues to the notice of your leadership?
I did. Many times. I told them that from a hopeless position, I had revived the party’s position. In panchayat elections, out of 22, the Congress won 20. People are with us. But, now we are back to square one. I even offered two, three times to make way for any Congress leader from Telangana region if that helped resolve the problem. But nobody was ready to listen.