Telangana crisis: Option of President's rule being looked at
With the situation in Telangana going out of control, the Centre is left with only two options -- impose President's rule or appoint a new chief minister from the Telangana region to replace Kiran Kumar Reddy. Vicky Nanjappa reports
Saturday is expected to be D-day for Telangana with Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan and Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy rushing to New Delhi for political consultations. There is talk that the Union government could either impose President's rule in Andhra Pradesh or appoint a new chief minister who is from the Telangana region.
Narasimhan has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P Chidambram on the Telangana issue and Reddy too is expected to meet Dr Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
The general strike in the Telangana region has entered Day 26 on Saturday causing an estimated loss of over Rs 14,000 crore; clearly the situation in Andhra is out of control.
The CM has even made it clear that it has become impossible to take action against agitators or even impose the Essential Services Maintenance Act because the stir has the backing of various political organisations and hence a President's rule may be the only option.
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Image: A demonstrator shouts anti-government slogans during a protest demanding statehood for Telangana
Will Centre ask Reddy to step down as Andhra CM?
However, the Centre will think twice before imposing the President's rule, as it believes pro-Telangana parties will look at it as a move in their favour and the Congress would suffer a severe blow. Telangana activists have been hoping for the imposition of President's rule for it would mean an early election.
The other option before the Congress is to ask Reddy to step down and appoint a chief minister representing Telangana. This would not only calm the nerves of agitators, but the Congress could retain its government and also buy more time. The Congress is hoping to stay in power as long as it can and declare a decision on Telangana when the polls are nearer.
Image: Andhra CM kiran Kumar Reddy
Deputy CM Damodar Raja Narasimha a popular choice to replace Reddy
A few names have cropped up to replace Reddy as CM, but according to sources a popular choice is Deputy CM be Damodar Raja Narasimha. The other possible CM candidates are Geetha Reddy and P Lakshmaiah. Although the people from Telangana would opt for B Srinivas as the next CM, the Congress may shoot down his name saying he is not a member of the assembly.
On one hand, pro-Telangana activists say that they shall not relent until their demands are met. "We have sought for the formation of a separate state and until that happens we shall not keep quiet," they said. On the other hand those seeking a united Andhra Pradesh are of the view that the government should restore normalcy first.
Image: Damodar Raja Narasimha