Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah completed 100 days in office on Friday amid shutdowns, violence and resignations.
Although Home Minister P. Chidambaram announced ‘freedom at midnight’ for Telangana supporters on Wednesday, both Rosaiah and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seemed to be clear by Friday that slow and steady would win the race.
But activists across party lines held daylong shutdowns and paralysed life across coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema. Lagadapati Rajagopal, Congress MP from Vijayawada, who earlier submitted his resignation, announced his plan to sit on a fast-unto-death in a day or two.
Sporadic violence and arson were reported from Visakhapatnam, Anantapur and Nellore. Half a dozen public transport buses were damaged by stone-pelting students.
The resignation spree was led by ministers and members of the state assembly and Parliament. The number of MPs who resigned is five, with two from the Congress and three from the Telugu Desam Party, while the number of assembly members touched 130 – Congress 76, TDP 40 and Praja Rajyam Party 14.
In Delhi, Singh assured a delegation of lawmakers from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema that the Centre would not do anything in haste, while Rosaiah in Hyderabad virtually repackaged late Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy’s strategy.
On February 12, Reddy announced the formation of a committee on the Telangana issue. Rosaiah, then finance minister, headed the panel that failed to take off because of polls and the subsequent death of YSR.
Announcing on Friday that a new panel would be formed, Rosaiah said, “I have been told by Home Minister P. Chidambaram that they (the Centre) will advise me at an appropriate time for moving the statehood resolution in the assembly.”
At the end of the day, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) was found standing alone, as main opposition TDP took a “U” turn, rattled by resignations in its core area of coastal Andhra.
In Delhi, the BJP accused the Centre of not consulting the other parties before going ahead on the Telangana issue.
But TRS leaders exuded confidence. “We are, at present, in the statutory silence period,” said an aide of party chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
(With inputs from agencies)