“We have taken a clear decision to bifurcate the state. All of you have to abide by it. We have been prepared to face any consequence. Even if you resign, we won’t go back on our decision.”
That was the terse reply given to Seemandhra ministers by the AICC top brass in Delhi on Friday.
The moment 14 ministers and five MPs sent a letter to Sonia Gandhi threatening to quit if the high command decided to bifurcate the state, the AICC top brass countered their warning by directing them to follow the party line.
In the wake of the strident stance taken by the leadership, Congress circles are discussing how many of these ministers will actually stick to their decision of resigning if T-state is announced.
The day began with a meeting of the Seemandhra Congress flock at AP Bhavan ahead of the Congress core committee’s meeting in the evening. Apart from the 14 state ministers and MPs including KVP Ramachandra Rao, Union ministers Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, MM Pallam Raju, K Chiranjeevi and JD Seelam took part in the meeting. The meeting resolved to plead with the high command to keep the present state as it is.
At the same time, Digvijaya Singh and Gulam Nabi Azad held separate meetings with Kiran Kumar Reddy, Damodara Rajanarasimha and Botcha Satyanarayana in the AICC War Room at 15, Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Road.
Singh and Azad met Kiran first and then Botcha and Rajanarasimha. The two AICC leaders conveyed the party’s decision in favour of state’s division. They urged restraint when the CWC takes the decision.
After these meetings, Seemandhra leaders met Kiran and Botcha again separately and came to know that their party leadership decided on bifurcation.
Meanwhile, Azad called up some of the ministers and MPs and conveyed the party’s decision. When these leaders objected to it, Azad told them, “Decision has been taken. I am helpless now. Convey your feelings to Madam Sonia Gandhi.”
By evening the Seemandhra flock went into a huddle at the residence of Kavuri and quickly drafted a letter to Sonia, saying that they would have no option except resigning. In response, they were told by the leadership in no uncertain terms that they would have to abide by the party’s decision.
Seemandhra, Rayala T
After the core committee meeting, Seemandhra ministers understood that the high command almost decided to split the state into Seemandhra and Rayala Telangana by merging two districts of R’seema with Andhra and two with Telangana.
A Seemandhra minister told Express that he was fully convinced that Kurnool and Anantapur would be merged with Telangana.
Lending credence to his claim, three ministers _ Sailajanath, Venkatesh and Prathap Reddy who are from the two districts _ changed their tune.
If Sailajanath said he would abide by his party’s decision, Venkatesh and Reddy said they would fight for the rights of their region.
Frowns & Smiles
Seemandhra leaders, including the chief minister, looked disappointed when they came to know that the high command decided to bifurcate the state.
On the other hand, deputy chief minister C Damodara Rajanarasimha appeared very happy soon after he had presented his final argument before Digvijaya and Azad.