Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has reportedly told the top Congress leadership that he would not be a party to a division of the state. "I will not be a party to any destructive decision", Kiran reportedly told AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh, hours before the latter attended the Congress Core Group meeting at the Prime Minister s residence on Friday evening, sources close to him said.
Having realised that the Congress high command has made up its mind in favour of creating Telangana state, the Chief Minister first asked it to postpone any announcement at least till the completion of elections to local bodies. But when he was told that the decision could not be put off any further, Reddy told Digvijaya Singh that he would not be a party to any "destructive" decision that would harm the interests of both Andhra Pradesh and Congress, sources said.
On his return to Hyderabad from New Delhi, Reddy on Saturday met a few MLCs and MLAs close to him and narrated details of his interaction with Digvijaya Singh and also Sonia Gandhi. "They have taken a decision but we made them put off an announcement for now. We have to first complete the local bodies elections", the Chief Minister reportedly told the legislators.
Elections to gram panchayats will be complete by July 31 but a notification for elections to Urban Local Bodies (ULB) is expected to be issued after August 15. Polls to ULBs will be complete by the second week of September and immediately thereafter the state will have to go for elections to mandal and zilla parishads in accordance with the Supreme Court order.
Meanwhile, with the top Congress leadership appearing to have veered towards creation of Telangana, Congress MPs from rest of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday opposed any division of the state while a party MP from Telangana region said the government should go ahead with the decision.
The six anti-Telangana MPs, including Union Ministers MM Pallam Raju, KS Rao, Chiranjeevi and D Purandeshwari (all hailing from coastal Andhra) and K Bapiraju and Anantarami Reddy met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a delegation to push for keeping Andhra Pradesh united. The MPs told Prime Minister that there would be repercussions not only for the state but also for the entire country if Andhra Pradesh is divided.
Rao said after the meeting that any decision to split the state would create problems. It was not in the interest of the people nor the various regions of Andhra Pradesh, he said. Talking to reporters, Bapiraju said the delegation told the Prime Minister that formation of Telangana will create problems in many states including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh where there are demands for separate statehood. He said the PM gave a patient hearing to the leaders.
On the other hand, pro-Telangana Congress MP Ponnam Prabhakar told a press conference that there should be no opposition, including from party MPs, to the formation of the separate state as the process of consultation was over. He said now that the party has taken a "decision", the leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema should not "create any hurdle" in the formation of Telangana. "Please play the role of an elder brother and facilitate the creation of Telangana. Why pose obstacles now after three long years of consultations"? he said.
On Friday, there were high-level discussions between the Congress central leadership and the state PCC leadership on the demand for creation of Telangana. AICC General Secretary and incharge of Andhra Pradesh Digivijay Singh and his predecessor Ghulam Nabi Azad had held separate discussions with Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana and Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha.
The two leaders were understood to have conveyed to the state leadership that the party has made up its mind on the creation of Telangana and it was only a matter of time before it is announced.
(With additional information from PTI)