Andhra Pradesh is coming under President’s rule after a long gap of 41 years.
The current spell of President’s rule, which the Union Cabinet approved on Friday on the recommendation of state Governor E S L Narasimhan, is not due to any constitutional crisis but a political crisis caused by the resignation of Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on February 19 protesting the bifurcation of the state.
Kiran also resigned from the Congress party but the Governor asked him and the Council of Ministers to continue in office till alternative arrangements were made.
The Congress high command tried desperately to install a new government consequent to Kiran’s resignation but a mass exodus of legislators from the party, particularly in the Seemaandhra region, put paid to its hopes.
The high command engaged senior leaders from both sides of the regional divide in talks to find a successor to Kiran but failed.
At one point, Union Minister of State for Tourism K Chiranjeevi was tipped to become the new Chief Minister of the yet-to-be divided AP but that did not happen as a consensus remained elusive.
Kiran’s resignation triggered a crisis in the ruling Congress here with at least three ministers of his Cabinet switching over to the principal opposition Telugu Desam Party and a couple of others deciding to join his to-be-launched new political party.
Close to a dozen MLAs from Seemaandhra have also left the Congress to join the TDP.
In the prevailing internal crisis in the party, the Congress would have clearly fallen short of majority in the Assembly.
This left no other option for the party except to go for a spell of President’s rule as elections to the state Assembly are just a couple of months away.
Andhra Pradesh first came under President’s rule way back in January 1973 following the “Jai Andhra” agitation for a separate state.
P V Narasimha Rao, who later went on to become the country’s Prime Minister, resigned as the Chief Minister when Central rule was imposed in the state for a period of over ten months.