The following article was written for Niti Central. Pasting it here for reference.
Ever since Kiran Kumar Reddy was appointed the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh by Sonia Gandhi, the Opposition has been constantly criticising him as being a “sealed cover Chief Minister”. As is the norm with the Congress, the CLP then took a decision authorising Sonia Gandhi to take a decision, thus giving rise to this criticism first. The several trips that the Chief Minister made to Delhi to have discussions with the high command only reinforced this criticism. Day before yesterday, the deputy Chief Minister of AP had this to say about the Chief Minister: “He is a sealed cover CM. What difference does it make if he stays in office or not?“! This serious outburst by the deputy CM was triggered by a long Press conference the CM addressed two days back.
Hours after Rahul Gandhi’s “daring” act of “defiance” against his mother, the AP Chief Minister displayed another act of defiance that went unnoticed by “national” media. The defiance was so strong that rumour mills are abuzz with talk that he will be replaced after the PM is back in the country.
In this Press conference, the Chief Minister has again raised various issues that he considers will be huge impediments in bifurcating the state of Andhra Pradesh. He explained about potential water-sharing issues that may arise (which the pro-Telangana groups have trashed); potential employee resettlement issues that may arise (currently one of the prime bones of contention); potential power sharing issues that may arise; potential revenue-sharing and generating issues that may arise; and various other issues. He insisted many a time that the CWC announcement was merely a “political” announcement. He said that when Digvijay Singh says “Everything will be looked into”, it is merely a political statement. It is the duty of the Government of India to address all the concerns he is raising in detail.
The views of the Chief Minister on this issue are quite well-known. He merely reiterated that he will forever fight for a United AP, even if that means giving up the post of the CM. The defiant tone expectedly set off a storm. However, in my opinion, what’s even more concerning is that the Union Government has still not bothered to address various concerns that are being raised by people and leaders of Rayalseema and Andhra regions!
The Chief Minister has been having regular interactions with the powers that be. He then addresses a presser in which he implies that the government has not yet thought about addressing major issues such as the ones mentioned above! Either the Home Minister of the country is keeping him in the dark on any progress or the Home Minister himself has no clue on how to go ahead! Either way, this lack of clarity is seriously concerning.
The Home Minister tells the Press that the Cabinet note is ready and he merely has to read it. Days after he said so, leaders of all three regions of the State met him. All of them came out saying the Home Minister told them that the Cabinet note is not ready yet. Why does the Home Minister give such conflicting versions of such a simple thing? Even before there was an inkling that Sonia Gandhi will decide in favour of splitting up of AP, we asked some basic questions that need to be addressed. It is fair enough to assume that the Chief Minister is in the know and is therefore urging that the Union Government put in more mind than it is doing right now.
Today marks the completion of two months — more than 60 days, since Sonia Gandhi announced her decision to split Andhra Pradesh. Two months since the State plunged into utter confusion and chaos. Not a single soothing message from either Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh or Rahul Gandhi has come. We continue to hear from discredited Congress leader Digvijay Singh that the Anthony Committee will submit a report after which there will be forward movement. He does not provide any timeframe for when this report will be submitted. In fact, various Congress leaders are urging the committee to visit the State at least once! Nearly 50 days after the committee was formed, it is a real shame that it has not thought fit to visit the State.
We have mentioned earlier the details of various departments under the strike. Not one of them has relented yet. Lakhs of employees are on strike. Lakhs of people are on roads daily. Thousands of buses are off the streets. While people are being pushed into hardship, political leaders are busy trying to figure out a good time to resign! One Minister met the Governor and urged him to accept his resignation. The Governor forwarded the resignation to the Chief Minister who okayed it. However, other Ministers have also met the Governor and then decided not to go ahead with the resignations! It is unclear why they need to meet the Governor and decide on resignations.
The pro-Telangana parties and organisations have upped the ante too. They are insisting that Hyderabad belongs to only Telangana and therefore any attempt to make it a Union Territory or a shared capital beyond 10 years is not acceptable to them at all. There is no clarity yet on what the status of Hyderabad will be. All we are told is to wait for the Cabinet note, without any clue on when it will be ready. These groups are also demanding the immediate sacking of the CM and are even urging Sonia to impose President’s rule in the State.
Meanwhile, Jaganmohan Reddy was granted bail. He has upped the ante on the United AP agitation — even asking the governor to convene the Assembly. Leaders of the Congress are worried that many of their ilk will join the YSRCP bandwagon.
The Chief Minister is urging MLAs not to resign, because only if they stay in office would they be able to defeat the resolution in the Assembly. Defeat of the resolution in the Assembly will set off a Constitutional crisis but that depends on the wording of the resolution. The Seemandhra MLAs quite expectedly outnumber the Telangana MLAs, so chances are very high that the resolution to split AP will be defeated in the Assembly. Though it’s not mandatory, would the Government go ahead with splitting the State when the Assembly is against it? Would the process be as smooth as Digvijay Singh says it will be? After all, sixty days hence, even the Cabinet note is not ready. How do they propose to finish this process in the next 120 days?