|Jaganmohan Reddy in Hyderabad and (right) Chandrababu Naidu in Delhi on Wednesday during their indefinite fast against Andhra’s bifurcation. Late in the night, police swooped on Jagan’s house and took him in an ambulance to hospital. “We lifted him and are taking him to the Nizam Institute for Medical Sciences Hospital on doctors’ advice,” said DCP V Satyanarayana. Jagan’s supporters offered no resistance. (PTI)
New Delhi, Oct. 9: The Congress leadership has made it absolutely clear that the Telangana decision is “irreversible” and there is no question of slowing down the statehood process.
It has also indicated that talks with stakeholders and political parties can only be held on the bifurcation plan, not on the desirability of the creation of a new state.
Contrary to the buzz about a go-slow or rethink, a determined Congress today pushed for invocation of the Essential Services Maintenance Act (Esma) to restore normality in Andhra Pradesh. Digvijaya Singh, the Congress general secretary in charge of the state, spoke to chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and firmly told him to act instead of allowing the situation to drift.
The chief minister may be on his way out unless he shows his political will and intent to deploy the state administration to control the situation. The high command has given him a long rope because of genuine political considerations and the overwhelming public sentiment against the bifurcation. But sources said any ploy to add fuel to the fire would not be tolerated.
A senior central minister said: “After all the common people are being put to great risk, even the hospitals are not functioning which is an alarming situation.”
In Hyderabad, Congress MLA J.C. Diwakar Reddy added: “I knew this would happen. The Congress high command will not accept any revolt at this stage. The CM has to abide by what it wants him to do or step down. It is too late for him to do anything else but toe the line.”
Chief minister Reddy was closeted with cabinet ministers and Seemandhra MLAs since 6pm. “Technically, yes, I have said that I will abide by the decision of the CWC. But I have also voiced my concern against the decision several times and at several forums,” Reddy was quoted as having said.
The Centre is planning to intervene if the state fails or refuses to act tough. The NTPC and the Power Grid Corporation may be asked to provide electricity to Andhra, large parts of which are in darkness because of the power strike.
The Centre also has the power to bypass the state government and invoke Esma to restore essential services. The imposition of President’s rule too is being considered, but not immediately.
In line with Digvijaya’s rejection of any possibility to reverse the cabinet decision, party spokesperson P.C. Chacko said: “We want the new state to come into being as soon as possible. We wanted the group of ministers to finalise the bifurcation plan within six weeks but we are willing to talk to the people who are opposing it. This may take more time. But the decision is irreversible.”
The first meeting of the seven-member group of ministers on Telangana, headed by Union home minister Sushil Shinde, will be held on Friday. It is expected to turn in its report in a month.
Chacko expressed “anguish” at the prevailing situation and hoped good sense would prevail on political parties that were fomenting trouble.
Asked about the chief minister’s role and whether he too was stirring trouble, Chacko said: “There is scope for such allegation. But the Congress is a democratic party, and we know everybody is not convinced about our decision that was taken after the widest possible consultation.
“We want everybody to come to the negotiating table and see how their concerns about division can be addressed. We are committed to safeguard the interests of Seemandhra and still something can be done about it.”
Digvijaya again appealed to the people of Seemandhra to resume work, reiterating that the Centre was committed to ensure the best possible package for the region. He rued the “unnecessary hardship” people were facing because of the protests.
“I think they are unnecessarily causing hardship for the people of Seemandhra. For the last 65 days, the employees of Seemandhra have not received their salary. Private buses are fleecing the people. This is not in the interest of Seemandhra people.”