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Cong setbacks in Andhra

Hyderabad, March 6: The Congress was at the receiving end in Andhra Pradesh today as leaders searching for greener pastures set off a political realignment in the state.

Former chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, who resigned from the Congress after Parliament cleared the Telangana statehood bill, said he would launch his party on March 12 at Rajahmundry to protect and unite the Telugu people from both regions.

Assaduddin Owaisi, the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader who represents Hyderabad in the Lok Sabha, today announced the end of the five-year alliance with the Congress for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and the resignation of mayor Mohammed Majid Hussein.

The party is protesting the imposition of President’s rule and the grant of “extraordinary powers” on law and order to governor E.S.L. Narasimhan till the elections.

In another blow to the Congress, former junior Union minister D. Purandeswari is preparing to join the BJP after the Congress high command suggested that she shift from the Visakhapatnam seat to Narasaraopeta in Guntur.

Speaking to the media in Visakhapatnam, NTR’s elder daughter said she planned to meet BJP leaders L.K. Advani, Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley in Delhi tomorrow.

“I am not putting any conditions but am confident that they will give me the Visakhapatnam parliamentary seat which I have been nourishing all along,” she said.

The move came after Congress colleague T. Subbarami Reddy openly declared he would contest from Visakhapatnam.

Purandeswari’s husband, Daggubati Venkateswar Rao, the Congress MLA from Parchur in Prakasam district, is expected to join the BJP with her.

More bad news for the Congress came from Union minister Chiranjeevi’s brother, actor Pawan Kalyan. He declared he was joining politics and would contest from two Lok Sabha seats — one in Telangana and the other in Seemandhra — only to oppose the “authoritarianism” of the Congress.

Kalyan, whose recent blockbuster Attarintiki Daredi clocked Rs 100 crore at the box office, said he would announce the name of his new party on Sunday.

Kiran Reddy, who along with others has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court against the state’s bifurcation, met his supporters today to take stock of the situation. The attendance was thin, with only a handful of MLAs and former ministers and the six expelled Congress MPs present.

“Telugu Desam chief Chandrababu Naidu and YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy are vying with each other to become chief minister. When a country like Germany could reunite, why not Andhra Pradesh?” he said.

“My party will be launched at a public meeting at Rajahmundry on March 12 and the party will announce its name and objectives.”