Feb. 28: The Union cabinet today decided to put Andhra Pradesh under President’s rule after a gap of 41 years and sent the recommendation to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Pranab Mukherjee, who yesterday received the Telangana statehood bill cleared by both Houses of Parliament earlier this month, is expected to give his assent to both tomorrow, sources said.
Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan had recommended President’s rule after chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy resigned on February 19 in protest against the bifurcation.
The Congress high command tried for almost 10 days to find a suitable candidate to replace Reddy. It summoned all its Seemandhra and Telangana MLAs, ministers and MPs and held three rounds of discussions to find a candidate acceptable to all. The names of Chiranjeevi, Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy, Jaipal Reddy, Kanna Lakshmi Narayana, Botcha Satyanarayana and Killi Krupa Rani were considered. But ultimately there was no agreement.
In his 15-page report, the governor had informed the Centre that all political parties in Andhra are divided on regional lines and lack solidarity and united strength to face the Assembly. He advised elections only after the bifurcation process was complete. “There is not a single leader acceptable to both regions now,” he had said, recommending central rule.
Even if the notification is issued straightaway, the bifurcation will take at least three months to complete. The Election Commission has made it clear that it will not be possible to hold elections to the two states at the same time as the general election. However, Assembly elections in the undivided state with the general election are not ruled out. The term of the 294-member state Assembly ends on June 2.
While deciding to impose President’s rule, the cabinet also accepted the governor’s recommendation to keep the Assembly in suspended animation.
President’s rule was first imposed in Andhra State from November 15, 1954, to March 29, 1955. This was before the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956, with the inclusion of the Telangana region of Hyderabad state in Andhra State.
Central rule was imposed again on January 17, 1973, and lasted till December 10 of the same year. This was after then chief minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, who belonged to the Telangana region, had to resign at the height of the Jai Andhra agitation for a separate Andhra state that followed the launch of the Telangana movement in 1969.
Governor Kandu Bhai Desai ran the show, assisted by two IAS officers P.K. Dave and H.C. Sarin. Later, a Congress government led by Jalagam Vengal Rao was formed till elections were held in 1978.