Congress leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh have decided not to resign and instead exercise the "only option" left to prevent bifurcation -- defeat the resolution on the subject in the Assembly, sources said here.
They also refrained from taking any tough posture against the Congress high command today, noting that it took the decision on division "under inevitable circumstances".
Congress Ministers, MLCs and MLAs from Seemaandhra region attended a four-hour-long meeting convened by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy this afternoon to discuss the situation in the aftermath of the Union Cabinet's approval for creation of Telangana state. There were practically no dissenting voices, though a couple of legislators spoke about leaving the party, sources said. "Presence of PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana probably deterred people from speaking out," said a senior MLA.
The divisions within the Seemaandhra leaders -- one section supporting the Congress high command, another supporting the Chief Minister and the third ready to walk out of the party at the opportune time -- were said to have cast a shadow on the meeting. Senior-most MLA and former minister J C Diwakar Reddy was the only one to lament their plight, saying: "How do we face the people now? What shall we tell them? Should we tell them that the Congress is responsible for the state division?" The Chief Minister, who had taken a belligerent stand against the bifurcation since the CWC decision on July 30, chose not to speak much at today's meeting, sources added. "The high command has closed the doors on me," he reportedly said, adding that it was in no mood to "listen to us".
Reddy only asked ministers and the legislators to continue in their posts and defeat the resolution in the state Assembly on the bifurcation. With reports suggesting that the Centre may have done away with the resolution route, as the note on bifurcation was directly placed before the Union Cabinet, the legislators felt there was no way it could bypass the state Assembly. "The Centre cannot go ahead with the division process without taking the views of the Assembly under Article 3 of the Constitution. Are we not in a democracy?" MLA K Kanna Babu wondered, coming out of the meeting.
State Infrastructure Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao also told reporters that the resolution should come to the Assembly and "we will definitely defeat it".