Adopting a defiant posture here on Saturday, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy declared that the draft Bill for the bifurcation of the State would be defeated on the floor of the Assembly.
A staunch integrationist, he threw a direct challenge at the Congress high command, demanding to know how it would get the defeated Bill passed in Parliament. In a direct attack at a public meeting in Vijayawada, Reddy asked the Centre not to link politics and the State’s division.
He declared: “We will not agree for the division of AP. If the Congress wants, it can ally with KCR, Jagan or even Chandrababu Naidu for political gains or make them CMs”.
The draft Bill cleared by the Union Cabinet has been sent to the President and is expected to be presented in the Assembly on Monday or Tuesday. The State Assembly session is set to begin from December 12. At present, the strength of MLAs from the Seemandhra region is 175, while the Telangana region accounts for 119 in the 294 member house.
He urged the Congress high command and the UPA Government to reconsider the decision. “What is the sin the people of the State has committed. Is this the reward for giving the highest number of MPs repeatedly, when the Congress was in crisis? When 75 per cent of the people oppose the bifurcation, is this legitimate?”
Earlier, the CM dedicated to the nation the Pulichintala balancing reservoir in Guntur district, which stabilises the Krishna delta (13 lakh acres in the districts of Krishna, Guntur, West Godavari and Prakasam). It enables storage of 40 tmc ft of water at Pulichintala for timely release of water into the canals in June.
TDP opposes move
Meanwhile, in Hyderabad, TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu too wanted the Centre to stop the process of division. “Get both Telangana and Seemandhra leaders to discuss the issue. Why is there a hurry to send the Bill to the Assembly,” he questioned.
At a press conference, Naidu criticised Sonia Gandhi and the Group of Ministers for their high-handedness. “Can’t they give the Cabinet ministers a chance to read the report? Can they divide any other State in this fashion?”