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Kiran Reddy resigns as Andhra CM, quits Congress to protest Telangana

Hyderabad, Feb 19 (PTI): Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy resigned on Wednesday to protest the decision to break up the state and create Telangana. He has also resigned from the Congress and the legislative assembly.

Kiran Reddy’s resignation ends a tumultuous 39-month tenure during which he survived a no-trust motion and weathered numerous agitations in support of Telangana.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had handpicked Kiran Reddy as the state’s chief minister in November 2010 even though he had never been even a minister and did not have a mass following.

Kiran Reddy, 53, was dead set against moves to break up Andhra Pradesh, and had become the first Congress chief minister in the history of the party to stage a sit-in in Delhi against the decision of his own party’s high command to create Telangana.

Kiran Reddy has now positioned himself as a champion of 'Samaikyandhra cause' seeking to upstage the likes of charismatic and resourceful Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who is also fighting for the same political space.

He was anointed as Chief Minister on November 25, 2010 after the resignation of K Rosaiah, who held the fort for the Congress for over a year following the death of the towering Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash in September 2009.

Political analysts had predicted that the cricketer-turned- politician would not remain in office for more than a few months given the fluid political situation in Andhra Pradesh on account of the raging agitation for a separate Telangana and the Jagan factor.

Reddy's government had faced a serious threat to its stability with Jaganmohan Reddy, the aggressive and charismatic son of late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, once declaring famously in Delhi that the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh was at his mercy.

The government, however, survived the no-trust motion on the floor of the House following the merger of actor-turned- politician Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam with Congress and Jagan being jailed in an alleged corruption case.

The agitation for a separate state, spearheaded by TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao, reached a new high during the tenure of Kiran Reddy and the government often came under tremendous pressure with ruling Congress legislators and ministers from the region joining the popular agitation.

The detention of some party MPs by the police for participating in the pro-Telangana agitation did not go down well with them, and they accused Kiran Reddy of being high-handed and vindictive.

Kiran Reddy held his ground on his own and virtually emerged unscathed as the parties and outfits supporting the separate statehood demand organised massive protests like 'Million March', 'sakala janula samme' (strike by all sections of people) for 42 days, 'Telangana March' and the en masse resignation of Telangana ministers and lawmakers.

Kiran Reddy went on to acquire the image of being a tough administrator by refusing to budge from his position though pressure mounted on him over emotional grounds.

Kiran Reddy was targeted by the YSR Congress president for allegedly “diluting” the numerous welfare schemes launched by late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy such as tuition fees reimbursement, Rajiv Arogya Sri health insurance scheme and social security pension.

Kiran Reddy, however, introduced several new schemes including Mee Seva citizen services, Bangaru Thali for girl child and Amma Hastham as he sought to expand his base among the masses.

During his tenure, the Congress suffered reverses in bye-elections held in Telangana and Seemandhra regions at the height of the separate state agitation and following the death of Rajasekhara Reddy, but shrugged off despondency showing impressive results in the elections to cooperative bodies and local bodies last year.

Kiran Reddy, who had been a loyal Congressman, turned a rebel, albeit with a cause, by voicing opposition to the Congress Working Committee's decision in favour of separate Telangana on July 30, 2013.


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