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Telangana is easier said than done

Andhra Pradesh plunged into a fresh political crisis with 120 MLAs and a MP belonging to Congress,TDP and PRP resigning in protest.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad |
December 10, 2009 10:04:25 am

A day after the Centre agreed to initiate the process for a separate state of Telangana,Andhra Pradesh plunged into turmoil with 120 MLAs and MPs of the Congress,TDP and Praja Rajyam Party submitting their resignations in protest against the bifurcation. As Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema erupted in fury,Chief Minister K Rosaiah said a resolution on Telangana would be moved in the state Assembly only if there was consensus among all parties — a clear indication that nothing was going to be done in a hurry.

“I don’t think the state will be divided immediately. The Union Home Minister said the process would be initiated which has been done but there are several stages in it. We have to consult political parties,people of different regions and then take a decision… If the need arises and a resolution is moved,it will be passed only if we get majority support,” Rosaiah said.

Angry MLAs of the Congress,TDP and PRP told Rosaiah that if he could go to New Delhi and return with a separate state,they were willing to sponsor “another return ticket” for him to “get back with four more states” because they wanted North Coastal Andhra,South Coastal Andhra,Rayalaseema and Hyderabad as separate states.

Though Rosaiah tried to cool tempers by calling a meeting of MLAs in the Assembly Hall,they were in no mood to listen. “We are demanding that the Centre roll back the decision,” said Botcha Satyanarayana,MLA from Chipuripalle in Vizianagaram district.

District Units of Congress,TDP and PRP have called for a bandh in Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra. Expecting a backlash,the state has rushed paramilitary and special police forces to these areas.

The consensus among parties to support a separate Telangana state was in disarray after the decision to initiate the process for a separate state was announced by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram late last night. Before the May general elections,the Congress,TDP and PRP had promised to support a separate Telangana but today MLAs of all these parties were united against bifurcation of the state. The Congress too split over the issue of Telangana.

Even Speaker N Kiran Kumar Reddy,Congress MLA from Pileru in Chittoor,threatened to resign. By late night,76 MLAs of Congress,29 TDP MLAs,and 12 PRP MLAs had submitted their resignations.

In New Delhi,Laggadabati Rajagopal,Congress MP from Vijayawada,was ready with his resignation. So were M V Mysoora Reddy,TDP’s Rajya Sabha MP,Narayana Rao,TDP MP from Machilipatnam,Antanta Venkatarama Reddy,TDP MP from Narsaraopet,M Venu Gopala Reddy,Congress MP from Anantapur,and Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy,Congress MP from Kurnool.

The Congress has 156 MLAs,TDP 92 and PRP 18.

Speaker Reddy had not accepted the resignations till late in the night. “I have received the letters but I am yet to go through them. I will call all MLAs who have resigned,talk to them individually and then decide whether to accept the resignation or not. As for Congress MLAs,until I accept their resignations,the government enjoys their support,” Reddy said,putting to rest speculation on the fate of the government.

The resignations came to the aid of the Congress which was forced to take a decision on Telangana last night as the health of TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao deteriorated and students threatened to march to the Assembly to press for a separate state.

For Rao,who had been on a fast since November 29,the Centre’s announcement was a face-saver — it helped him break the fast. He has been discharged from the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS).

TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu,who did a U-turn before the general elections and changed the party’s 25-year-old stand in favour of Telangana,blamed the Centre for taking a “hasty” decision.

“The Centre should have consulted everyone before arriving at the decision so quickly. The state has plunged into crisis due to this. The TDP will support a separate Telangana provided there is consensus,” Naidu said. He claimed none of his MLAs who resigned had consulted him.

Praja Rajyam Party president Chiranjeevi said he was told by his MLAs about their decision to resign. “There should be consensus,opinion of everyone should be taken before such a decision,” said Chiranjeevi.

Most MLAs from the coastal areas said they feared for the non-Telangana people who had made Hyderabad their home. “They are saying Andhra settlers would be told to leave. What will happen to them? How can the Congress do this?” said P Raghunath Reddy,TDP MLA from Puttaparthi.

Congress and TDP MLAs claimed that many others would resign if the Telangana resolution is moved in the Assembly. This will prevent it from being passed,they said.

AP Congress Committee president D Srinivas who hails from Nizamabad in Telangana found himself in a spot. “I don’t know what to say. The decision on Telangana is welcome but the resignation of MLAs bothers me,” he said.

Meanwhile,students across Andhra and Rayalaseema,who had been watching activities of the pro-Telangana students of Osmania University,took to the streets against the bifurcation. Demonstrations were held in Andhra University in Vizag,Dravidian University in Chittoor,Nagarjuna University in Guntur,Srikrishna Devaraya University in Anantapur and other places.

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