For a few days following the Congress decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh on July 30, chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy was not seen in public. Posters announcing ‘MISSING’ appeared in the Seemandhra districts, detailing Reddy’s features and asking him to reappear with the promise that no one would “chide him for his failure to stop the state’s division”.
However, Reddy’s image has been improving in the two regions since August 8, when he spoke against the division, implicitly questioning the decision of his party bosses.
“In our anxiety to form a new state, we should not create a bigger problem,” Reddy told a press conference, listing out the issues — from water and power sharing to Hyderabad — to be settled first. That redeemed his image among the public out on the streets in the 13 districts, including Chittoor, which he represents. The agitators stopped targeting Reddy while other Congress leaders continued to be taunted.
On Saturday, the ‘Save Andhra Pradesh’ rally of the government employees showed that Reddy’s popularity was rising in Seemandhra. While leaders of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and those of the Congress belonging to Telangana alleged Reddy was behind the rally, employees hailed him for his united Andhra Pradesh stance.