Andhra Pradesh on Saturday plunged into an unprecedented political crisis with all the ministers from the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions deciding to resign to protest the central government's decision to grant separate statehood to Telangana. Chief Minister K Rosaiah has asked the cabinet ministers not to resign and further deepen the crisis.
At a meeting here, all 20 ministers from the two regions decided to submit their resignations to Chief Minister K. Rosaiah.
Minister for Municipal Administration Anam Ramnarayana Reddy told reporters that they would meet Rosaiah to convey their decision and submit their resignations.
"There is pressure on us from the people to join the movement for a united Andhra Pradesh and hence we have decided to quit," he said amid the growing unrest in the two resgions.
Three ministers later met the chief minister and conveyed their decision to him. Rosaiah, however, advised them against taking a decision in haste.
A visibly upset Rosaiah told reporters at the state secretariat that Minister for Revenue Dharmana Prasada Rao and Minister for Home Sabita Indra Reddy were designated to speak to the ministers.
Rosaiah, who had taken over as chief minster on Sep 3 after the death of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash, is now looking at the Congress central leadership to resolve the crisis, triggered by the decision of the centre to bifurcate the state.
Earlier, talking to a television channel, Rosaiah said he was "anguished" over the statement of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram that a resolution for formation of Telangana state would be moved in the state assembly.
He said despite his expressing apprehensions over the issue, the central government had gone ahead with the announcement.
Rosaiah has also ruled out moving the resolution in the current winter session of the assembly.
Rosaiah, who heads a 34-member cabinet, hails from the coastal Andhra region and is a member of the legislative council.
The state cabinet is divided over the issue, with 13 ministers from Telangana region holding a separate meeting to discuss their future course of action amid demands from various quarters that the legislators and ministers from Telangana should also resign to protest the "blackmailing" by their counterparts from other regions.
Minister for Information Technology K. Venkatrama Reddy from Telangana said if the state is put under President's rule the ministers and legislators from Andhra and Rayalaseema would be responsible.
As many as 130 legislators from the two regions, including 76 from the ruling Congress, have submitted their resignations to the assembly speaker. Legislators of the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) have also submitted their resignations.
Speaker Kiran Kumar Reddy has not yet accepted the resignations of the legislators.
In the 294-member assembly, 175 members come from Andhra and Rayalaseema regions while 119 are from Telangana.
Cutting across party lines, legislators from Telangana are also contemplating to resign. "If necessary we will sacrifice our posts for a separate Telangana state," said senior TDP leader and legislator N. Janardhan Reddy.