YSR Congress Party chief Jaganmohan Reddy on Friday urged the nation to stand up and “fight against the injustice being meted out to the people of Rayalseema and coastal Andhra regions" and announced that he will begin an indefinite fast from Saturday to protest against the decision to bifurcate the state.
“Hyderabad, a city that took 60 years to build, can’t be left in 10 years. And where will these engineers and students go? We want the country to start thinking - this arbitrariness has to stop,” he said.
Protests and shutdown rocked Seemandhra even as five more central ministers from the region announced their resignations on Friday to protest against the cabinet’s nod to the separate state of Telangana.
State police have sought 20 companies of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) from the central government for deployment in Seemandhra. As many as 45 companies of paramilitary forces were already deployed.
There were some stray incidents of violence on the first day of the 48-hour Seemandhra bandh called against the first formal move towards splitting Andhra Pradesh to create the 29th state of the Indian Union.
HRD minister MM Pallam Raju on Friday put in his papers, ignoring the Prime Minister’s advice asking him to not to act in haste.
"I am deeply offended and aggrieved that we have not been able to articulate the concerns of the people well enough for the cabinet to take note of our hurt and anguish," Raju told reporters.
"It is going to be harmful and detrimental to the long-term interests of the state," he said.
Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy, MoS Railways and son of late Rayalaseema stalwart K Vijayabhaskar Reddy, also said he met the Prime Minister and gave his resignation. Singh advised him against taking any "emotional step", according to him.
Other ministers K Sambasiva Rao (Textiles), K Chiranjeevi (Tourism), D Purandeswari (MoS Commerce) and Killi Kruparani (MoS IT and Communications) are also understood to have resigned, according to their aides.
Congress MPs, who had already resigned from the Lok Sabha on Telangana issue, have now threatened to quit the party.
They include R Sambasiva Rao, Ananta Venkatarami Reddy, Sabbam Hari and Vundavali Arun Kumar.
At a press conference in Delhi, Sambasiva Rao accused the Congress of doing injustice to Telugus and even praised BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
In Andhra Pradesh also, state law minister Erasu Pratap Reddy met Governor and submitted his resignation.
Erasu was one of the dozen ministers who had submitted resignations to the chief minister in the first week of August following the July 30 decision of the Congress' Central Working Committee to divide AP.
The CM, however, did not accept the resignation and asked the ministers to wait for some more time and continue the fight for a united state till the end.
The resignations took place while Seemandhra region witnessed widespread protests and shutdown. YSR Congress chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy announced an indefinite fast from Saturday while former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu would begin fast-unto-death in Delhi from November 7.
Unfazed, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters that the protests in Seemandhra region against splitting Andhra Pradesh were understandable, saying: "after all, wherever there is bifurcation of any state, such feelings are there".
"We will take them into confidence. We will try our level best. It is natural. No one can avoid these. But we have to console them. We will try to console them," he told reporters in New Delhi.
The minister, however, insisted that the desire to fulfil the Congress' commitment of 2004 - and not the 2014 Lok Sabha elections -- had inspired the Cabinet to take the decision.
The Cabinet on Thursday cleared carving out Telangana state from AP, leaving Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra---known together as Seemandhra—fuming and prompting junior tourism minister Chiranjeevi to fax his resignation to PMO.
At the same time, in a united show of strength against the decision, chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy held an emergency meeting with his ministers and legislators from Seemandhra, who decided they will not resign but oppose Telangana state in the assembly.
There were practically no dissenting voices at the four-hour meeting, though a couple of legislators spoke about leaving the party, sources said.
"Presence of PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana probably deterred people from speaking out," said a senior MLA.
The divisions within the Seemaandhra leaders – one section supporting the Congress high command, another supporting the chief minister and the third ready to walk out of the party at the opportune time -- were said to have cast a shadow on the meeting.
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Normal life was paralysed in Seemandhra, where united-Andhra supporters, in response to the 48-hour bandh called by employees’ organisations, blocked highways and enforced closure of shops and other commercial establishments and educational institutions.
Power supply in at least six of the 13 districts in Seemandhra was hit as all but one unit of the Vijaywada Thermal Power Station were closed, with employees participating in protests. Andhra PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayan’s camp office was stoned by the protesters in Vijaynagaram.
Congress MP L Rajagopal said he will move the Supreme Court to challenge the bifurcation. The move violates the federal principles and structure of the Constitution, he said.
Contending that majority of the people of Andhra Pradesh is against the bifurcation, he said when a resolution in this regard is moved in the state assembly, "we will ensure that it is defeated".
YSR Congress Party chief Jagan Mohan Reddy urged the nation to stand up and “fight against the injustice being meted out to the people of Rayalseema and coastal Andhra regions, and announced that he will begin an indefinite fast from Saturday to protest against not to bifurcate the state.
“Just see the plight of my state. Today, the situation of the state has worsened. From Saturday, I will be on an indefinite fast to protest against this,” Reddy told media.
“I will be sending a team from my party to Delhi. I will consult the leaders of all parties and will also meet the President,” he added. Reddy feared that Telangana will make Hyderabad jobs off-limits for outsiders.
“Hyderabad, a city that took 60 years to build, can’t be left in 10 years. And where will these engineers, students go? We want the country to start thinking - this arbitrariness has to stop. I request the entire nation to stand up and fight against this injustice,” he said.
He asked why the decision on Telangana cannot be reversed.
(With Agency inputs)