AP bifurcation divides Cong ministers; chaos over resignations
The spectacle of "resignation" by ministers and legislators of the ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh as well as the main Opposition TDP over the Telangana issue is becoming chaotic as a clear headcount of those who claimed to have quit remained ambiguous.
The Congress leaders are clearly finding themselves pushed to a corner, with protests intensifying across Andhra- Rayalaseema over the proposed division of the state, and are hence using the "resignation" route in a bid to be seen with popular mood in their respective constituencies.
There is palpable division of opinion among ministers on the resignation issue as a majority of the 22 ministers from the two regions are reluctant to quit office. They continue to pledge loyalty to the party high command though acknowledging the people's mood in non-Telangana regions.
Only five Congress ministers claimed to have submitted their resignations to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy since late last night, while the number of MLAs and MLCs, who were said to have put in their papers, remained unclear.
Ministers M Maheedhar Reddy (Municipal Administration) and P Viswaroop (Animal Husbandry) met Kiran at his camp office here this afternoon and tendered their resignation.
"At a time when people of my region are agitating against the bifurcation of the state, I have decided not to continue in my post," Viswaroop said after meeting the CM.
Maheedhar Reddy also spoke on the same lines.
Last night, at a marathon four-hour-long meeting, Ministers Ganta Srinivasa Rao (Infrastructure & Investments), T G Venkatesh (Minor Irrigation) and Erasu Pratap Reddy (Law) tendered their resignations despite AICC observers Thirunavukkarasu and Ramachandra asking them not to do so.
In all 19 ministers, including PCC President and Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana, attended the meeting.
The AICC observers issued a warning that the high command would brook no rebellion, forcing many ministers – who carried their resignation letters – to back out, party sources said.
Meanwhile, there is utter confusion over the actual number of MLAs and MLCs of both Congress and TDP from Andhra- Rayalaseema who resigned over the state division issue.
The Legislature Secretary's office said only nine resignations of Congress MLAs were received by it so far though more than 25 claimed to have put in papers.
Though about 18 TDP MLAs and more than a dozen Congress members claimed to have "faxed" their resignations to the Speaker’s office, sources said no such letters were received.
Three more Congress MLAs announced they submitted their resignations to Speaker Nadendla Manohar personally.
The Speaker remained unavailable for comment and efforts to reach him proved futile.
On the other hand, over 15 MLAs said they submitted their resignations to PCC President Satyanarayana. In fact, Kakinada (Rural) MLA K Kanna Babu claimed that 25-30 legislators submitted resignations to the APCC chief.
On December 10, 2009, the Assembly was in session and immediately after the Centre announced decision to "initiate the process for creation of Telangana state", MLAs from Andhra -Rayalaseema, cutting across party lines, made a beeline to the Speaker's office to tender their resignations.
The scene remains different now as most of the legislators are now confined to their constituencies.
Bowing to pressure from the protestors, they are declaring there itself that they have "sent" their resignations to the Speaker.
But no such letters have reached the Speaker's office in Hyderabad so far, according to sources.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister and the PCC President will address a meeting of the Congress Ministers and legislators here tomorrow evening.