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CM’s sane plea

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It is good that Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy spoke out his mind on Thursday on a very important question. He came across as a confirmed...

It is good that Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy spoke out his mind on Thursday on a very important question. He came across as a confirmed integrationist. That he argued so vehemently against the decision taken by the Congress party, which appointed him as Chief Minister, reflects the measure of freedom that is allowed by the party high command when it suits it. He made it clear that the decision so far was only that of the party and not of the UPA government. He has to be commended for the forthright manner in which he has articulated the likely consequences of a division in the fields of irrigation, power and employment.

Reddy, who maintained steady silence on the subject before and after the decision, has chosen to place on record his considered views on matters of acute importance. His advice to employees of the State government, electricity department and RTC to defer the strike proposal and to take back the strike notices has to be considered by the concerned in a positive manner, particularly in the light of the appeal by him to protect the interests of the farmers who are hopeful of getting good yields this year due to copious rains. Reddy patiently answered a number of questions from media persons while remaining uncompromising in his views on bifurcation of the State.

He put forward a spirited defence of integration by listing the benefits that have accrued so far from integration and the pitfalls that are in the way of division. The issues that are likely to crop up in relation to the status of Hyderabad, sharing of river waters, power and jobs are truly of serious nature meriting thorough examination once again before taking the final call. His assertion that violence would not be tolerated and expression of the government’s resolve to continue to be stern in dealing with the law and order situation are overdue.

He was not entirely wrong in blaming two former chief ministers for the imbroglio the people of Andhra Pradesh find themselves in. But the role of his party high command cannot be wished away. His request to the Union government and the high-power committee headed by Defence Minister AK Antony not to create a bigger problem while trying to solve the existing problem, though made unconventionally through a media conference, needs to be noted by his party high command. The language and the body language of the Chief Minister make it obvious that he addressed the people with the express approval of the party leadership. The points raised by the Chief Minister on various issues are not new. In the public discourse that has been going on for well over a decade on the question of Telangana statehood, all the apprehensions and misgivings that Reddy has referred to have been answered by experts on irrigation, power and employment.

The debate on Hyderabad has been raging for quite some time. Two conclusions could be drawn at this point of time. Reddy was trying to establish himself as an avowed integrationist that he is and thus strengthen his political base in Seemandhra. The aggressiveness he exhibited during the media interaction might be designed to send the signals that he fought tooth and nail the proposal to divide the State. He has nothing to lose since he is anyway prepared to vacate the seat at the drop of a hat after registering his unhappiness with the party’s decision.

He made no bones about the fact that he signed the letter by Seemandhra Ministers and MLAs to the party high command. It is now left to the Congress High Command to provide points of reference to the Antony Committee, study its recommendations and then proceed in this matter as rightly suggested by the Chief Minister. What the people of the State pray of the Chief Minister and his party high command is that the tangle should not drag on any further and a final settlement has to be made so that the Telugu-speaking people can live peacefully and prosper like those living in neighboring States of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

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