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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 21/02/2014
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(MENAFN -Khaleej Times) Central ministers, state ministers, legislators submit resignations; more expected in coming days

N Kiran Kumar Reddy ended his three-year innings as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday when he resigned both from the post and the Congress party in protest against the creation of Telangana state.

The 53-year-old cricketer-turned-politician expressed anguish and dismay in the way Telugu-speaking people, who had remained united for 58 years, were being divided “for votes and seats”. He, however, chose to be evasive on the issue of floating a new political party. “I am resigning in protest against the decision to divide the state and not for power or position,” he said.

“The division of the state is not going to benefit anyone. There are dark days ahead for all the Telugu people, including students, farmers and government employees. And all the parties, including the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Telugu Desam Party, YSR Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Congress, are responsible for the disgraceful manner in which the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. We hang our head in shame today,” Kiran Reddy said.

The passage of the Telangana bill in the lower house of parliament on Tuesday seems to have opened the floodgates for resignations by ruling party ministers and lawmakers. Central Minister D Purandeswari and state ministers G Srinivasa Rao, Galla Aruna Kumari, T G Venkatesh and E Pratap Reddy, besides about a dozen legislators from the ruling party — all hailing from Seemandhra — have put in their papers. More resignations from the region are expected in the next couple of days, sources said.

With no indications of Kiran Reddy floating the much-anticipated political party, most of the Congress leaders and lawmakers who are quitting are moving towards the main opposition Telugu Desam Party and the fledgling YSR Congress headed by Y S Jaganmohan Reddy which has made major inroads into the vote banks in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.

The Congress, which in any case was expected to lose heavily in Seemandhra, is now focusing on Telangana where it is expected to forge an alliance with the dominant TRS before the general elections scheduled to be held in April/May.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi is literally being deified in Telangana with couple of ‘Sonia temples’ put up by Congress leaders for fulfilling their long-cherished dream of a separate state.

Meanwhile, the shutdown call given by united Andhra organisations was a success in all the 13 districts of Seemandhra with educational institutions, shops and other business establishments remaining closed on Wednesday. Barring incidents of activists burning effigies of Sonia Gandhi in several cities and towns in the region, the shutdown was peaceful throughout the day, police sources said.

The Telangana bill, which was to be taken up in the upper house of Parliament on Wednesday was deferred since the government and the opposition could not reach a consensus over amendments to the bill. The BJP, which supported the bill in the lower house, is rooting for incorporation of at least 32 amendments to the bill, sources said, adding that the bill would definitely come up for discussion on Thursday.

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