New Delhi/Hyderabad: Faced with the spectre of continuing violence in Seemandhra and Ralayaseema regions, the Congress-led UPA government may be left with no other option than to impose President’s Rule in Andhra Pradesh.
Officially, the Congress remained non-committal on the possibility. AICC spokesperson Bhakt Charan Das said, “Aisa samay nahi, jab ayega to sochenge (Such a time has not come, we will think about it when the situation arises).”
The central government also conveyed to Andhra Pradesh High Court that it would exercise the option if it feels that the state is unable to handle the situation.
The Congress has reasons to be cautious on imposition of central rule in the state and may opt to wait and watch for now. However, with YSR Congress’ Jaganmohan Reddy and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu on hunger strikes, the Congress may have very little time left to prevent the situation from turning for the worse.
Also, party leaders from Seemandhra and Rayalaseema regions have remained adamant on their demand for a united Andhra despite the efforts made by the Congress high command to address their concerns.
What makes the situation trickier for the Congress is the open defiance being exhibited by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy. He is against the bifurcation of the state and may turn out to be the rallying point for all those who are opposed to the idea.
Reddy said that the Congress will be wiped out in Seemandhra if Telangana is formed and warned that the state’s division would lead to water wars. “Politicians are answerable to people and if they don’t act accordingly people will reject them,” he said.
As per reports, his supporters want him to launch a new party to which Reddy said that he will prefer to first see how the situation pans out in the coming days before breaking away.
Adding fuel to the fire is the possibility of many central and state ministers, MPs and state legislators resigning en masse to protest the formation of Telangana.
However, if indications from Delhi are anything to go by, the UPA government remains determined to go ahead with creation of Telangana.
Union Minister of State for Home RPN Singh said, “The government is not going to reconsider the proposed bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and creation of Telangana. The ongoing protests in the name of a united Andhra are being led by political parties which had in the past supported the idea of a new state. This is very unfortunate.”
Singh was referring to the protests by Jaganmohan Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu as both of them had, in the initial stages, supported creation of Telangana but backtracked later.
Total shutdown in Seemandhra
Meanwhile, there is no let up in public protests in Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions. Indefinite strike by government employees, transport workers and teacher has completely paralysed normal life in the regions.
What has made it worse for the people is the near total disruption in power supply due to the indefinite strike by Andhra’s power unions.
The Centre has reasons to be worried as the power shutdown may spur shutdown of other essential services.
Already hospitals and train services in the region have been severely crippled due to the power blackout. The airport in Vishakhapatnam has also been hit due to the shutdown and is now running on backup power supply.
With tempers running high in the region, the Centre may be inclined to go for President’s Rule as an interim measure to get the situation back in order in the state.