The Union government must take a call soon on the issue of statehood for the Telangana region, says Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, as concerns mount in the Congress about the future of the party in the volatile region.
"I am requesting them (central government) that it (Telangana issue) should be decided soon. The central government has to decide on it and we will abide by it," Reddy told IANS in an interview during a recent visit to West Godavari district's Kondrupolu area, about 350 km from Hyderabad, as part of a mass outreach programme.
The 52-year-old Congress leader, who took over as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh in November 2010, said views and expectations of those in favour and those against a separate Telangana state had been sent to New Delhi.
New Delhi's indecisiveness on the volatile issue that has seen various parties, including the Congress, come together on one platform, has been much discussed, but the chief minister disagreed that it had affected development or investment in the state.
"We have seen many agitations in the last four decades and it is a part of the process. Investment projects worth Rs.130,000 crore are in different stages of sanctions in the state," said Kiran Reddy, a keen cricketer who represented Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy tournament.
The Telangana region comprises 10 districts, including Hyderabad. The demand for a separate Telangana state has been festering for long, leading to turmoil in the area, suicides and mass hunger strikes. In 2009, then home minister P Chidambaram had said the process of formation of the state "had begun".
Besides Telangana, the YSR Congress's big wins in the June by-elections are a worry.
Referring to the rise of the YSR Congress, started by Jaganmohan Reddy, son of late Congress chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Kiran Reddy admitted it was an issue but not a problem.
"I don't think it (rise of the YSR Congress) is a problem but it is definitely an issue," Reddy told IANS in the interview.
"These MLAs who left us were leaders in those particular constituencies for a very long time, some for the last 20-25 years," he said.
"So we will have to build up a new cadre... it will take some time and I am sure by 2014 we will surely get more seats then we have today."
The Congress received huge setbacks in the by-elections, with the YSR Congress winning 15 of the 18 seats. The by-elections were held because Congress legislators were disqualified for supporting the YSR Congress and voting against the Congress government during a no-trust vote in December 2011.
On the issue of his cabinet ministers involved in corruption, Kiran Reddy said: "We are trying to analyse everything ... they (ministers) are connected with investments which Jaganmohan Reddy has got in his firm."
"It is for him (Jaganmohan Reddy) to explain how these investments have come into his firm ... We will have to legally sort it out," he added.
Jaganmohan, 39, an MP from Kadapa, was arrested May 27 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a disproportionate assets case and is still in custody.
Four ministers are facing allegations that they issued controversial orders during former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy's tenure benefiting Jaganmohan. The Supreme Court has already issued notices to these ministers.
Another minister had to quit in May after he was arrested by the CBI in the same case.