Ending a week of studied silence, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy on Thursday struck a defiant note over the Congress — his party — decision to split the state to carve out Telangana.
Reddy, who kept away from the state secretariat all this while addressed a press conference at his camp-office where he was meeting the ministerial and party colleagues since the July 30 decision.
“In our anxiety to give a new state, a new problem should not be created,” Reddy stated presenting figures to show some problematic issues that could arise after the split like sharing of River Krishna waters from Nagarjunasagar Dam, half of which lies in Telangana and another half in Seema-Andhra.
To substantiate his point, Reddy mentioned the present disputes between AP and Karnataka over the waters. “Lives of millions of farmers would be affected,” he said.
Reddy also predicted a severe power crisis situation after the split, attributed to low energy resources like coal, gas.
“What I am presenting before you is a fact, not any argument.”
During the course of the one hour press conference, Kiran reiterated the UPA and Congress decision as only political.
“It’s Congress party’s decision. The centre could only go forward having settled all the issues pertaining to division.”
Reddy also justified a resolution sent by the party’s Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) leaders to New Delhi opposing the division. “Yes, I did sign on it. (If there is a problem)I would take it up with my party chief, right?” he said.
“I am neither questioning nor welcoming the decision. All I am asking is to settle the issues – water, electricity, Hyderabad – before the state could be divided.”
Reacting to views expressed that the centre need not ask for State assembly consent or consultation before bringing a bill for creating Telangana, Reddy emphatically stated that there should be a discussion on the issue in the assembly.
The CM appealed to the Seemandhra employees, agitated over an imminent transfer from Hyderabad in case of split, to take back their strike notice and present their views to a Congress committee under AK Anthony, “which also has two central ministers in it.”
On Hyderabad, Kiran said that people from all corners and walks of life made it their home over the past six decades.
Hyderabad developed as a centre for education, health, government and private opportunities. “Now, if you say it is another state, what would they do? Where would they go?”
Citing that all parties (except the AIMIM and CPM) had favored Telangana “but now are indulging in dramas” Kiran hit at his political rival Jaganmohan Reddy saying, “YS Rajasekhara Reddy is the first reason for the Telangana decision now. It is YSR who in 2001 went with a representation of 40 MLAs that Telangana should be formed,” Kiran said.
On the ongoing protests he said, “In a democracy everyone is entitled to voice their view. Just keep it peaceful.”
Meanwhile, the agitation against division in the 13 districts of Seemandhra completed nine days.
Public life is severely affected, with transport and other essential services coming to a halt. Parliament proceedings are also affected with MPs storming the well, forcing repeated adjournments.