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Andhra central rule proposal irks parties

Hyderabad, Feb. 22: Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan’s recommendation for imposition of President’s rule in Andhra Pradesh and extending it till the general election has drawn criticism from major parties.

Chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and his team had quit early this week after the Telangana bill was pushed through in the Lok Sabha. Elections in Andhra and Telangana, if formed by then, are due at the same time as the Lok Sabha poll.

Sources said the state Congress, Telugu Desam and the YSR Congress have made it clear they were “unhappy” with the recommendation.

Andhra Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana, who had called on the governor last afternoon with a proposal to form a stand-by government till the election, abruptly cancelled his evening news conference after he learnt of the recommendation.

“How can he recommend President’s rule when the Congress has a majority of 146 seats in the Assembly?” Satyanarayana burst out. He had called on Narasimhan along with six former cabinet colleagues who backed him for chief minister.

In his five-page report that has stirred a controversy, the governor said: “All the political parties in the state are a divided house with virtual division on regional basis and not on party lines.”

Narasimhan said he did not think any political leader of any party was capable of handling the complex situation arising out of the bifurcation. “Basically, there is no politician in the state who is acceptable to all regions.”

The Congress high command is not keen on central rule in Andhra — it has been one of the UPA’s bastions in its two terms, giving it 30 and 33 MPs respectively — as it would send the signal in poll season that the party was incapable of running governments.

Moreover, Andhra has had a tradition of dissidence since 1978. Between 1978 and 1982, the Congress had four chief ministers: Channa Reddy, Anjaiah, Bhavanam Venkat Ram and K. Vijayabhaskar Reddy.

Again, between 1989 and 1994, it had three: M. Channa Reddy, N. Janardhan Reddy and K. Vijayabhaskar Reddy. Between 2009 and 2014, there have been three chief ministers: Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, Rosaiah and Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Narasimhan has been at loggerheads with Kiran Reddy from the start. He has sent back several files and rejected the nomination of candidates for vice-chancellors and RTI commissioners. Recently, he sent back the chief minister’s recommendation for appointment of MLCs in four nominated posts.

Kiran Reddy, too, has acted difficult with Narasimhan. During the Brahmotsavam of 2013, the governor had requisitioned a chartered flight to ferry his family from Tirupati to Chennai. But the state government refused his request, forcing him to travel by road.