They are the faces of a new struggle, for Seemandhra. Leaders from the region are seizing every opportunity to not only stay relevant to their voters but also emerge the new heroes in the wake of the Congress’ July 30 decision to divide Andhra Pradesh to form Telangana.
If 12 MPs—eight from Congress and four from TDP—were suspended from the Lok Sabha on Friday, it was because of the ruckus they created in the House in a bid to highlight their plight.
The MPs know their political survival is at stake, but it is also a golden opportunity to project themselves as champions of the Seemandhra cause.
One of the more vocal opponents of the state’s bifurcation is Anantapur Congress MP Anantha Venkatarami Reddy. “There is no way out. The state has to remain united. We are only voicing the opinion of our people,” he said.
Understandably, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana have taken a Samaikyandhra stand. Union ministers from Seemandhra, including Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, M M Pallam Raju, D Purandeswari and Chiranjeevi, are supporting the concerns of the people of Seemandhra. With the heat becoming intolerable, Sambasiva Rao said: “If APNGOs’ strike does not yield the desired result, I will resign.”
Seemandhra Congress leaders have more or less abandoned Gandhi Bhavan—the PCC headquarters—after the bifurcation decision.
As the prospects of the Congress look very bleak in future, sitting Congress legislators—both MPs and MLAs—are reported to be wondering if they could form a new outfit to fight the election next year, after exiting the party. The Congress vote share has plummeted to 10 per cent from 25 per cent in Seemandhra, post announcement of the T-decision.
The Congress leadership might lend covert support to such a formation because it does not want to leave the field open to TDP and the YSR Congress Party. Simultaneously, Congress is reportedly keeping communication channels warm with TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao for merger and YSRCP for post-poll alliance. If Congress attempts jell, the party may not mind being relegated to third place in Seemandhra.
As regards other parties it is not as though they have no problems. Now YSRCP honorary president Vijaya Lakshmi is on an indefinite hunger strike at Guntur while TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu is contemplating to hit roads in Seemandhra with a bus yatra from August 25 to reach out to voters.
Naidu has said it is the duty of the Centre to keep the people in both regions happy but at the constituency level, leaders are advocating Samaikyandhra.
Meanwhile, in a display of antics, TDP MP N Sivaprasad on Thursday even lashed himself with a hunter outside Parliament to draw attention to the “injustice” meted out to Seemandhra by the Congress.