Kiran prepares to take on Centre over bifurcation

Assembly's opinion not binding: UPA

Kiran prepares to take on Centre over bifurcation

As a former cricketer who has captained the Hyderabad Under-22 team, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has reasons to believe that the game cannot be over until the last ball is bowled. 

Pitted against his party top brass in Delhi over the Telangana issue, the 53-year-old chief minister is hoping to turn the statehood issue in his favour and is gearing up for a showdown with the Centre on the contentious issue. 

Hailing from Chittoor district in Rayalaseema, Kiran knows that going against public opinion and presiding over Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation would effectively end his political career. With the UPA fast-tracking Telangana formation and ruling out any change of mind, it is getting increasingly harder for the chief minister to avoid the possible confrontation. 

“Clearly, he does not like to go down in history as someone who presided over the state’s division,” sources said. However, they dismissed rumours of the chief minister floating his own political outfit to fight for united Andhra Pradesh as “media speculations”. 

“After opposing the draft Telangana bill whenever it comes up before the state Assembly, he might announce his resignation on the floor of the house,” they said. 

Kiran has been behind the united Andhra cause ever since the Congress Working Committee made its announcement in July regarding Telangana formation, making frequent public statements against the move and the consequences for the party of dividing a linguistic state. 

He made no secret of his concerns over “intractable” differences between the two divided states over river water, power, access to health and education facilities, and the status of Hyderabad. 

His latest assurance that he would do everything in his powers to stop the “bifurcation cyclone” did not go down well with the party high command, though it leaves no doubts as to which direction the chief minister is moving. 

Sources said he would brandish his “trump card” whenever the Telangana comes up for business in the Assembly, though that would be nothing more than a well-planned exit timed for maximum effect. 

Possibilities are that the showdown and Kiran’s exit could take place in the last week of November when Telangana draft resolution is expected to be sent to the Assembly. The UPA leadership has made it clear that the Assembly’s opinion is not binding and the Parliament has the powers to create the new state. 

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