Is Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has sought to give the impression of being the last man standing in the way of State division, finally giving up?
Events over the past week culminating in Thursday’s development when APNGOs called off their 66-day-old strike are being interpreted as indicators of growing noises within the Congress camp — among MPs and MLAs — that it is time to end an agitation which is leading nowhere.
Going by private talk among ministers and legislators, it appears that it’s becoming difficult for Kiran Reddy to convince them that his efforts to keep the State united will succeed. Not surprisingly, there has been a gradual decline in the number of MLAs and ministers calling on him for guidance on the way forward.
With quite a few Union Ministers and State ministers too slowly toeing the party high command line, there has been a dilution in the Samaikyandhra slogan. Much before the NGOs ended their stir, a significant section among them had been nursing the feeling that they were led into a dark tunnel with light nowhere in sight. The statements made by the Chief Minister during talks with NGO leaders also suggest that they have been caught in a political game. The two principal suggestions made by the Chief Minister during the talks are: 1) GoM on bifurcation should provide an opportunity for NGOs to put forth their concerns; 2) protection to employees should be given much in the same way as was done when states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were created.
“How is this different from what Delhi has been saying? Central leaders have been reiterating umpteen number of times that all issues pertaining to employees will be looked into and they could meet the committees constituted for the purpose. Where was the need to encourage employees to continue the strike beyond two months to demand something that has already been considered?” a minister wondered.
He questioned whether with these suggestions, the Chief Minister and the employees have reconciled to division of the State. The other “beliefs” sought to be spread among the people of Seemandhra in regard to the procedure to be followed for bifurcation are also slowly proving to be wrong.
All along, it has been circulated that a resolution would come to the Assembly and it would be “voted down” by the legislators of Andhra-Rayalaseema.
But, it is now becoming clear that, in all likelihood, only the draft bill would be sent to the Assembly on which no voting is normally taken as it is meant only for “expression of views.”
Politically too, Delhi seems to be playing counter to each and every move that Kiran is planning.
If he tried to attack the Central leadership, the latter is publicly conveying that Kiran is, after all, a party loyalist and would finally “do what the high command wants.”
Having at one stage contemplated a series of press conferences, the Chief Minister stopped with just two, once the Cabinet gave its nod to bifurcation.
A majority of the Union Ministers/MPs as well as state ministers/MLAs appear to have seen through the game.
No wonder, talk of Kiran planning to float a separate party is also not being heard much of late with just Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal still pursuing such an idea.
Not more than a dozen legislators are expected to entertain thoughts of backing such a move if at all it is made.
Who has “stumped” whom is the question.