The 16 ministers, and several MLAs and MLCs of the Congress from Seemandhra, who met at the chief minister’s camp office here on Friday, were at their wit’s end and failed to hatch a definite plan to stall state’s bifurcation.
Chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, PCC president Botcha Satyanarayana and the others, who racked their brains trying to figure out why the party leadership was not taking them into confidence, remained clueless on the next move of the high command.
Interestingly, according to sources, the chief minister stuck to his rhetoric that the state would not be bifurcated before the next general election but several of his peers were not convinced this time.
When Kiran tried to instil confidence in them saying that it would not be easy for the Centre to take forward the T-decision even after Union Cabinet’s endorsement in view of the several procedural hurdles like nod of the Assembly lying ahead, some of them repeatedly asked him on what basis he was exuding the confidence. Nevertheless, the chief minister advised them against resigning now to be able to defeat the Telangana resolution whenever it is referred by the President to the Assembly. He asserted that the T-process could be stalled by defeating the resolution in the Assembly.
He told his colleagues that constitutional experts had told him that if the T-bill was defeated in the Assembly, it could form the ground to challenge the division in a court of law.
Gade Venkata Reddy came down heavily on the high command, accusing it of insulting the Seemandhra Congress leaders by breaking its own promise that T-note would be placed before the cabinet only after the Antony Committee submitted its report.
Minister Sake Sailajanath said later that there was no precedent of a new state being formed without the consent of the Assembly concerned. Another minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao said, “If the Centre decides not to send the T-bill to the Assembly, we will go to the President and urge him to reject the bill.” Several leaders, doubting the confidence of the chief minister, asked, “What will happen if only the views of the MLAs are gathered in the Assembly on the T-bill and no voting is taken?” But Botcha Satyanarayana and Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, who are said to be differing with the chief minister on opposing the party’s T-decision, threw their weight behind the chief minister’s plan to defeat T-bill in the Assembly.
“The Union cabinet’s decision to bifurcate AP without addressing the concerns of Seemandhra has pained us a lot. The process should not be carried forward when 60 per cent of the people of the state are opposing it. Legal luminaries told us that the division could be questioned on certain legal and constitutional issues in a court of law. So, we are hopeful that we can stall the T-process by defeating the T-bill in the Assembly as well as approaching the court,” Botcha said. In a complete U-turn, he said he and his peers would make all-out efforts to keep the state united.