According to sources, senior Congress leader and Union minister Jaipal Reddy is a heading a major campaign to oust Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, as a section of the party feels that the chief minister is single-handedly thwarting the formation of Telangana.
The move comes at a very interesting time. The Congress Working Committee is scheduled to meet soon and take a decision on the issue, and according to sources, the chief minister has been saying in his inner circles that the Telangana Bill will meet the same fate as the Women’s Bill.
This has not gone down too well with leaders such as Jaipal Reddy, Bosta Satyanarayana and Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Raja. In fact, during the core committee meeting of the Congress in Delhi, only Kiran Reddy put up a 45-minute presentation on why the state should not be divided.
The three Congress leaders are parked in New Delhi awaiting the CWC meeting’s announcement. Sources tell rediff.com that they would try and get the President’s rule imposed in the state, so that the transition to bifurcate the state is smoother. At the moment, even the high command is slightly aligned towards K K Reddy, who, according to his opponents, feeds them false information.
“He has falsified the Seema-Andhra violence data. He has even been saying that the party will lose heavily if Telangana is formed,” said a source.
Telangana leaders say that chief minister is hoping that the bill will be sent to Parliament and the matter would be kept in abeyance like was done in the case of the Women’s Bill. Moreover, once the Congress decides on dividing the state, it would refer the matter to the state assembly for opinion.
Although this could be a mere formality as Parliament is the deciding authority, Reddy could create problems by delaying the same. He has got many supporters within the Congress to oppose the Telangana as a state, and could well use this to delay its formation.
Several Congress leaders in New Delhi are demanding that the house be kept under suspended animation until the process for Telangana is complete. They feel that this would also smoothen the transition.
A source from Delhi says that a majority of the Congress has agreed upon the formation of Telangana. However, they say it will be a 225-day process.
“Once the Congress takes a political decision, then it is sent to the state cabinet for an opinion. Then, the proposal goes up before Parliament and if the Congress is serious about it, the bill would be passed in both houses. It is essential that both houses pass the bill,” says K Chandrasekara Rao, supremo of the Telangana Rastriya Samithi.
“Once this is over, it would go before the President for a final consent,” he added.
While the Congress is sure about granting a state for Telangana, they are still undecided on the date. Many are of the view that it should be pushed towards the elections so that the memory is fresh in the minds of the people.
December 9, which incidentally is Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s birthday, is one date that is under consideration. However there is increasing pressure from the Telangana Congress leaders who at least want the process to commence immediately so that the people of the region are happy.