An interview with Digvijaya Singh, Congress general secretary and in-charge of Andhra Pradesh:
Is the Congress now caught between the devil and the deep sea on the Telangana issue?
Not at all. We have taken a decision after due consideration, consultation with all political parties and only when there was a near consensus, barring the opposition from the CPI(M), we took a decision to form Telangana. The Congress party was the last one to clarify its stand on the issue after hearing every political party.
Your own chief minister, Kiran Reddy in Andhra Pradesh, is batting for an undivided state and faces allegations of encouraging anti-Telangana protests.
That is not correct. He is doing a very difficult task at a very difficult moment. Let us not blame him for these protests.
There are strong rumours that the Centre might impose President’s rule or the party may remove Reddy from the CM’s chair.
There is no possibility on both accounts. There is no constitutional breakdown, so, why should there be a President’s rule? The government is still functioning. Some strikes have taken place no doubt but the state administration is negotiating with these employees and hopefully the power distribution will be restored by Thursday morning. We are also negotiating with the NGOs who have gone on strike. That too, will be over soon.
But in the wake of fresh agitations, will your party review its decision?
I do not see that possibility. These developments (anti-Telangana protests) have not come as a surprise for us. But we are committed to ensure that the interests of the Seemandhra people are fully protected. It means security to all the settlers from Seemandhra region in Hyderabad or giving the best possible deal in water sharing, revenue sharing and ensuring equitable share in power generation and distribution. At the same time, we will ensure that the division of the cadre takes place on judicious lines and the interest of employees of both regions are taken care of.
The industry lobby is extremely worried about the bifurcation.
I would like to assure all investors that the bifurcation will have no negative impact on the investments in Hyderabad and its growth will not be hampered. The rights and properties of all people who are employed in Hyderabad will be protected. We will not allow any untoward incident against Hyderabad and its industries.