M A I N   N E W S

AP Cabinet divided over Telangana
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, December 13
The embers of regional passions continued to smoulder in Andhra Pradesh as sharp divisions over the Centre’s move to carve out separate Telangana state showed no signs of let-up.

The Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions were rocked by protests for the third day today with legislators and other public representatives, cutting across party lines, joining hunger strike camps to express solidarity with the anti-Telangana agitation.

Both the ruling Congress and the main opposition TDP found themselves divided over regional lines with supporters and opponents of separate Telangana state holding parallel rallies and demonstrations and throwing challenges at each other.

The predicament of the ruling party was particularly embarrassing. The 35-member cabinet was vertically split over Telangana issue. The Telangana ministers and their counterparts from Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions held parallel meetings to take stock of the situation and chalk out their strategies.

A meeting of the Telangana Ministers and MPs, held at the residence of IT and Communications Minister K Venkat Reddy here, adopted a resolution thanking the party President Sonia Gandhi for taking a favourable decision on Telangana.

The meeting urged her to speed up the process for formation of the new state.

On the other hand, the ministers from the other two regions decided to support the agitation for integrated state. As many as 20 ministers from Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions had yesterday threatened to resign following mounting public pressure from their respective constituencies.

The Chief Minister K Rosaiah, who also hails from coastal belt and is said to be opposed to bifurcation of the state, appealed to them to reconsider their decision as the high command was seized of the issue.

There are indications that the ongoing winter session of the Assembly will be adjourned sine die tomorrow in view of the Telangana turmoil. In the 294-member Assembly, 138 legislators from the two regions have already submitted their resignations to the Speaker N Kirankumar Reddy.

Amidst fears over possibility of imposition of President’s rule, the state Congress President D Srinivas today appealed to his party legislators to withdraw their resignations to avert “constitutional crisis”.

“The grievances of legislators have already gone to the notice of the High Command. They will take a decision on this,” he said adding that he was confident that the agitated members would take back their resignations.

Meanwhile, a senior Congress leader from Rayalaseema region JC Diwakar Reddy requested the union government to send an emissary to the state to clarify doubts raised by non-Telangana legislators.

Reddy was the first MLA to put in his papers after the Centre? dramatic midnight announcement granting Telangana statehood.

Meanwhile, sporadic incidents of violence were reported in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra region. Raising slogans of 'Samaikhya Andhra' (united Andhra), protesters took out rallies and forced shutdowns in some areas. The agitators attacked an Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) office at Guntakul in Anantapur district and damaged oil tankers. Tension gripped SK University in Anantapur as students staged a rally opposing the division of the state.

In the coastal city of Vijayawada, the TDP legislators D Umamaheswar Rao and Ramakotaiah began indefinite hunger strike.

“We will call off our fast only after the Centre gives up the idea of creating separate Telangana state,” Rao said.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |