The Wily Fox of Andhra Hunts With T-Hounds - The New Indian Express

The Wily Fox of Andhra Hunts With T-Hounds

Published: 15th Dec 2013 08:50:45 AM

Does Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy really want to keep the state united or is it just a slogan to encash in the 2014 elections? With the Centre having progressed to the stage of sending Presidential reference on the Telangana bill to the Assembly, Kiran and his aides are sure that division, at some point of time, is inevitable. But, they have a limited purpose—stall it until the elections—emerge as heroes in Andhra and thereby remain relevant by floating a new party. Lest, their political career will be a history.

Andhra Pradesh party affairs incharge Digvijaya Singh persuaded Kiran to fall in line, but his aides claim that he will consume as much time as possible to keep the T Bill in the State till January 23, deadline set by the President. There are also claims that he may resign along with all Seemandhra MLAs when the Bill comes up for discussion to create a crisis.

The Congress effectively killed itself in Seemandhra with its decision to carve a separate state of Telangana. Kiran is cashing in on the sentiments in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema to embellish his profile at the cost of his own party.

Initially, he had given the impression of kowtowing to his Delhi bosses but soon, crossed the Rubicon. Despite repeated ‘reaffirmations of his loyalty’ by Singh, the chief minister continues to up the ante against his party high command.

At a recent public meeting in Vijayawada, Kiran embarrassed his party leadership, asking it not to divide the state on the advice of YSRC chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy or TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao for electoral gains. His statement is akin to allegations levelled by TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu that the Congress high command and Jagan had colluded to divide the state. Kiran’s efforts to delay tabling of the T Bill in the ongoing Assembly session has invited the wrath of his party leaders from Telangana.

Some Seemandhra Congress leaders suspect the chief minister’s defiance is being scripted by the AICC top brass to project him as a champion of united Andhra in their region. However, many believe Kiran has burnt his bridges and a rapprochement with Delhi is remote.

According to his close aides, Kiran has almost made up his mind to float his own political outfit in Seemandhra. However, Kiran is understood to be of the opinion that he should launch a party only if AP is kept intact till 2014 polls.

“As Congress has been decimated in Seemandhra, Kiran feels a new party will fill the vacuum,” a minister close to Kiran said. If the State is divided before the polls, the Samaikyandhra slogan will lose its relevance. Hence, Kiran may not prefer to take the risk, sources said.

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