New Delhi: A defiant Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N Kiran Kumar Reddy, has dared the Centre to go ahead with the creation of the separate state of Telangana. Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai in an exclusive interview after the AP legislature rejected the bill, Reddy said, "We are meeting to decide the future. Future of the state is paramount. Pride of the Telugu people can't be decided in Delhi."
Attacking his own party-led government at the Centre, the AP Chief Minister said, "If the Telangana Bill is passed as it is, I will quit politics. We are discussing with the MLAs and MPs closely. We want to protect our state at any cost. AP legislature has rejected the bill. It's an indication of having a united state. It is the will of the people." However, he added that quitting politics does not mean floating his own party.
Describing the decision of the Centre to send the Telangana Bill to the assembly as a great blunder, he said, "The Bill sent to AP legislature was flawed. Due procedure was not followed. It was sent in a hurry. If it's passed by Parliament as it is, I will quit."
He said that no state was bifurcated against the wishes of a state legislature and AP is facing an unprecedented crisis. Rejecting the allegations of Telangana MLAs and others leaders that their views were not heard and the Bill was rejected by a voice vote ignoring their protest, he said, "The voice vote was unanimous. Both the assembly and council rejected the Bill."
Attacking the Centre he said, "State reorganisation should not be linked to party politics. What my party did was a mistake. I am fighting for the people. AP legislature has asked the President not to recommend it to Parliament. Let the people decide it in elections. The Centre should respect the sentiments of the people. The Centre should review its stand. Quitting does not mean floating a new party. I am insignificant here. For me united AP is more important than my power."
Kiran Kumar Reddy said that the bifurcation of the state would lead to more problems for both and the state should not be divided in the interest of the whole state. He said that issue of Hyderabad would not be so easy to resolve and there would be major issues like power and water.
According to the people close to him, the CM is holding marathon discussions with MPs and MLAs from Seemandhra and he may quit if the Bill is passed by Parliament. There are reports that he will form his own political party to take on the Congress.