Several central ministers from Seemandhra region have resigned to protest against the Union Cabinet’s decision to create a separate Telangana state. What is the latest information you have on this issue?
What we’ve been given to understand is that, Chiranjeevi (Tourism Minister), Pallam Raju, (HRD Minister) and KS Rao (Textile Minister) have sent their resignations to the Congress President and also to the Prime Minister, protesting the Cabinet’s decision which was taken last evening about the formation of a new state: Telangana. In fact, this has been done because of the political compulsions prevailing in their respective constituencies.
Sources say that this was communicated by these ministers to the senior leadership of the Congress party, that their position in the Union Cabinet and in the Council of Ministers will become untenable when such a decision has been taken, and that is exactly what has been done.
In fact, we saw when the Congress working committee came out with this decision, the Telangana Ministers were meeting several people all across the political spectrum of the Congress party. In fact, they met with very senior leaders of the Congress party trying to put their point across. But, today we have seen that when the decision has been formally taken by the Cabinet, they had no option, but to resign.
This was communicated, well in advance, to the Congress leadership and sources tell us that the Congress leadership has, in principle agreed to the decision which is being taken by these ministers due to political considerations. Now, we must understand that the Assembly Elections in Andhra Pradesh and the Lok Sabha Elections in Andhra Pradesh are just 6-8 months down the line, so, clearly all these leaders will also have to look at their own political constituencies.
There are reports that several Congress MPs have also resigned from the primary membership of the party, how does the party view this development?
Well, the information coming is that some have resigned from their posts as member of the Parliament, while, others have sent in their resignations to the Congress president. But, we have to understand that all this is something which the Congress party has taken into political consideration before coming to any conclusion on the issue of Telangana, and that is what is being played out.
At the moment, they feel that it would be very difficult to get seats in the Seemandhra region of the state. While, when Telangana is being formed, the entire Telangana will be backing the Congress Party to the hilt. So, that is the takeaway that the Congress has taken from this entire episode.
Some of the ministers who have resigned, like Chiranjeevi, are heavyweights in their respective regions, do you see the fortunes of the Congress being hit in these areas?
They have been advised by the Congress leadership to ensure that the message reaches their respective constituencies loud and clear why the congress party did it. So for they are trying to distance themselves from the cabinet meeting that took place, and on the other hand they are also going ahead and making a political statement about the fortunes of Seemandhra.
The Congress and the UPA had been taking several steps in support of the pro-Telangana lobby. Now as far as the anti-Telangana lobby is concerned- the lobby that is for a united Andhra – do the Congress or the UPA plan to take any steps for that segment?
What we’ve been given to understand is that the Congress president herself was very keen that as far as diversion of funds is concerned and as far as division is concerned, Seemandhra gets a fair share, or rather more than the fair share of the money which is required for the new state so as to ensure that the fundamental rights of the new state, and all the necessities are taken care of and money is not a consideration. That is something which is clearly being thought out by the Congress president. Secondly at the cabinet meeting yesterday the prime minister assured the leaders from united Andhra that there will be no problem as far as funds are concerned for the creation of a new capital for Seemandhra.