In Seemandhra, Sonia hardsells division, gets tepid response

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s efforts to connect with the audience at a public meeting at Guntur in Coastal Andhra Friday met with a lukewarm response. While she was trying to explain how the state’s bifurcation will eventually lead to development of Seemandhra, the gathering did not appear impressed.

Sonia said the decision to divide the state was difficult but it was taken after several parties in the state gave their acquiescence. “All parties of Andhra Pradesh except the CPM were in favour of bifurcation of the state as they wanted a solution. Even the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy opined in 2009 that he was not against Telangana as the agitation had gone on for too long,” she said.

“I can understand the anger of people of Andhra because this region has always stood up for secularism, peace and brotherhood. But we had to take a decision because Telangana agitation had been going on for so long. We have reorganised both states in complete fairness. Safety and security of Seemandhra in Hyderabad is assured first and it is imbibed in the reorganisation Bill.”

“I appreciate the efforts of Seemandhra people in developing Andhra Pradesh. I am sure they will develop Seemandhra and it will emerge as an economic and social model state,’’ she said.

“I understand the anger of people of Seemandhra but for the first time the Re-organisation Act has embedded provision for a special development package for Seemandhra, and safety and security of Seemandhra people in Hyderabad. My party is committed to protecting social, cultural and financial interests of everyone living in Hyderabad. The Governor has been given the task of ensuring safety and protection of lives and properties in that city,” the Congress president said.

Appealing to farmers, she said their interests would be protected as the Centre would set up a water distribution authority of fair distribution of Godavari and Krishna waters.