Under fire, Kiran mulls if discretion is better part of valour
After having attempted to become a hero in Seemandhra by taking on the Congress high command on the issue of bifurcation, is Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy now on the back foot? Yes, seems to be the answer, going by the way he is said to be reacting privately to the unexpected attack on him by ministers belonging to Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.
As many as nine ministers from Seemandhra attended a meeting held at the residence of Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy on Tuesday at the end of which they minced no words in saying that the Chief Minister’s stance on the issue of bifurcation was doing more harm than good to the party in the two regions.
Following up on the meeting, another minister from Andhra, Dokka Manikya Varaprasad, on Wednesday accused Kiran of trying to promote his personal image at the cost of the party and thereby, severely impacting loyalists of Congress. The meeting at Anam’s residence was interestingly attended by PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana and Union Minister K Chiranjeevi, both known detractors of Kiran.
The Chief Minister, according to sources, is understood to have realised that the ministers would not have embarked on this campaign without the blessings of the party high command. Moreover, his efforts to reach out to top leaders in Delhi ever since he directly attacked AICC general secretary and party State affairs incharge Digvijaya Singh have proved futile.
Against this backdrop, Kiran seems to be contemplating three steps: a) Open a channel of communication with Digvijaya and explain why he had to make such remarks in favour of Seemandhra b) call a meeting with the PCC chief and ministers from Andhra-Rayalaseema to formulate a strategy to protect the interests of the two regions in the event of bifurcation c) go ahead with whatever position he has taken and face the consequences.
What kind of response the first two options will evoke is doubtful considering that he has already burnt the bridges with Delhi and did not care to involve any minister from Seemandhra on the issues that he intended to raise. A few among his advisors are said to be egging on Kiran to stay firm, come what may.
Having already held three press conferences, at which he railed at the party leadership for its decision to divide Andhra Pradesh, the Chief Minister was in fact planning to hold a few more to explain the consequences division would have on employees, students and the health sector over the next fortnight. But whether he will go ahead with them now remains to be seen.
But, surveys reportedly conducted by the Chief Minister’s Office in both Andhra and Rayalaseema are understood to have revealed that he has hardly emerged a hero in any of the two regions notwithstanding the efforts he made to espouse their cause. This also seems to have dampened his spirits.
What seems to be worrying Congress loyalists in Seemandhra is the feedback they are getting that the Chief Minister’s attack on his own party has only contributed to its further weakening in those two regions throwing a big question mark on their future. Therefore, they see the urgent need to protect the party from the clutches of Kiran.
In fact, some ministers from Seemandhra are planning to write a letter to the Chief Minister that elections to ZPTCs and municipalities which are already due should be conducted immediately as it would help retain the party base. Their argument is that any attempt to completely erode the base would make it difficult for the party to bounce back at least in the future.
“In politics, people’s anger against a party is not permanent. In 1994, we were reduced to 24 seats in the Assembly.
Ten years down the line, Congress bounced back with an overwhelming majority. Therefore, it is important that we remain alive and relevant to seize any opportunity that comes up in future,” a minister said.