'Telangana decision is unjust to people of Seema-Andhra'
The announcement of a Telangana state was expected to upset the people of Seema-Andhra and their leaders have been quick to react on this issue.
One of the first persons to declare his decision to quit both the Congress and his Guntur parliamentary seat was Rayapati Sambasiva Rao.
In an interview to rediff.com’s Vicky Nanjappa, Rao said that the Congress party’s decision to divide Andhra Pradesh is a painful one.
What is your reaction to your party’s decision on Telangana?
I am not happy at all. This was not the right decision. It has hurt me very badly and moreover it is against the interest of the people of Andhra Pradesh.
Will you be quitting your parliamentary membership only?
I will also quit the Congress, as this has pained me no end. Once I return to India (he is currently in New York), I shall go to Delhi and resign.
Why do you think the Congress made this decision?
Telangana leaders have misled the party leadership. The party should have considered the sentiments of the people of Rayalaseema and Andhra before making such a decision. This decision is not in the right direction and the people from Seema-Andhra find it objectionable.
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Image: (Inset) Rayapati Sambasiva Rao
'Successive governments have done a lot for Telangana'
I had said in the past too that Telangana leaders were conspiring to dethrone the Kiran Kumar Reddy government. There were constant threats issued by them to destabilise the government.
However, today I am really disappointed as I thought that the leadership would seek a consensus from all three regions before making such an announcement. I always felt that the state would remain united.
The people of Telangana have complained of injustice and under development.
That is not correct. Successive governments have done a lot for Telangana. In fact, what the people of Telangana should know is that the region began to develop only after the people of Seema-Andhra began migrating to that region.
Telangana leaders say that leaders from Seema-Andhra are spreading false rumours about the safety of their people in Hyderabad.
The people have valid fears and with this, the division has only gone up. However, as leaders, it is now our duty to ensure the safety of the people.
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'Hyderabad is not anyone's individual property'
Can the people of Seema-Andhra be stopped from entering Hyderabad now?
That cannot be done. No one has a constitutional right to do so. There will be protests if people are stopped. These people have settled there for many years and cannot be displaced just like that. Hyderabad is not anyone’s individual property and everyone has a right to be there. Even the Constitution permits any citizen of India to live in a place of his or her choice. This right of the people provided in the Constitution cannot be denied at any cost.
There are bound to be many agitations in Seema-Andhra. How do the leaders from the region propose to coax them?
They have a right to protest and feel upset. What has happened to the people of Seema-Andhra is unjust. However, unlike the people of Telangana we will not resort to violent protests resulting in the shut down of the entire region. We will protest peacefully.
What is the next course of action?
Once I return to India, I shall discuss this further in Andhra Pradesh and New Delhi. However, there is no going back on my resignation from both the party and MP post.