Kiran K Reddy All Set To Float A New Party
With the image of being a crusader of united Andhra Pradesh taking a nosedive after the conspicuous absence in the state Assembly when the Telangana Bill was tabled, Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy is said to be working out strategies to revive the lost ground. According to sources, Kiran Kumar Reddy is keeping his cards close to his chest about his future plans
Kiran Kumar Reddy, who is being projected as the “star batsman”, who will not leave any stone unturned to keep the state united, is reportedly gearing up to launch a new party sometime during end of January or early February along with the MPs, who had moved no-confidence motion against the government in the winter session of Lok Sabha, and some MLAs from the Seemandhra region. It is said that the Chief Minister’s camp had conducted a secret survey two months ago on the popularity of the Congress in the light of division and his own popularity following the strident stand he had adopted in regard to the bifurcation of the state and had been openly defying the high command.
The survey also included a question on the Chief Minister launching a new political party to keep the Samaikyandhra votes intact. Though the results of the survey are not known yet, it is said that the survey received negative response from cross section of the people at that point of time. However, things have changed fast after the six MPs—Lagadapati Rajagopal, Sabbam Hari, V Arun Kumar, G Harsha Kumar and Rayapati Sambasiva Rao—gave a notice for a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha against the UPA government.
It is said that the Congress party may deny ticket in the 2014 elections to these six MPs. Though it is not clear if Arun Kumar will join the new party or not, ministers like S Sailajanath, TG Venkatesh, Erasu Pratap Reddy, G Parthasarthy, Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Pithani Satyanaryana, and MLAs Malladi Vishnu and T Srinivas are among those who are likely to go with Kiran Kumar Reddy. The Vijayawada MP, Lagadapati Rajagopal, and his Guntur counterpart, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, have openly declared in the past that a new political party would enter the 2014 elections to protect the state from being divided.
While Rajagopal declared that he would take political sannyas if the state was divided, Sambasiva Rao said that he was expecting a new political party to accommodate the Samaikyandhra protagonists. Interestingly, Rajgopal also announced that Kiran Kumar Reddy would also retire from politics if the state was bifurcated. It is said that they are considering taking over one of the three political parties registered for Samaikyandhra. One G Srinivas had registered the name of Andhra Pradesh Rashtriya Samaikya Samithi Party, another person K Srinivas had registered, Samaikyandhra Parirakshana Samithi (SPS) with Ameerpet in Hyderabad as headquarters. The third party was registered in October by Dr Vishwanath from Vijayawada. The name of this party is Samaikyandhra Rashtra Samithi. Vishwanath said that he would welcome either Rajagopal or Kiran Kumar Reddy to lead his party with a sole concept of keeping the state united. “I am trying my best to take the party to the people from January and would welcome if Rajagopal joins,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that when YS Jaganmohan Reddy left the Congress, he had taken over a party that was already registered as Yuvajana Sramika Raithu Congress Party by a person from Nalgonda district. In a similar manner, Kiran Kumar Reddy too might take over one of these three registered parties, sources add. There is another section that feels that this could be part of the game plan of the Congress high command to ensure that it saves at least some of its vote bank in the Seemandhra region. So far, only YSR Congress Party is known as a party that is fighting to keep the state united. If Kiran Kumar Reddy quits Congress and floats his own party, it could cut into the YSRCP vote bank and politically it might help the Congress after the 2014 elections.
According to political sources, first Kiran Kumar Reddy will drag on discussion on Telangana Bill, which is expected to be taken up from January 3, as long as possible. He may also seek to extend time limit of January 23, given by the President of India Pranab Mukherjee. Once, all attempts to drag on the issue in the Assembly exhausted, he will resign as Chief Minister making it difficult to return the Bill to the Centre, in the absence of a proper government in the state. After resigning from the office, he will also quit Congress Party and would go on a whirlwind tour of Seemandhra districts and address public meetings in all major cities—Kurnool, Anantapur, Tirupati, Machilipatnam, Ongole, Guntur, Eluru, Rajahmundry and Srikakulam—and utilise the occasion to reiterate his commitment towards keeping the state united.
In all probability, Kiran Kumar Reddy will kickstart his meetings after the Assembly session ends on January 23. Though the ministers are refusing to comment on whether or not the Chief Minister will float his own party, some feel that Kiran Kumar Reddy may float the new party soon after the Bill was introduced in the Parliament. Some close aides of Chief Minister admit that there is pressure from many Congress MLAs and MPs to float a new party as they see no future for Congress in Rayalaseema and Coastal regions. Meanwhile, Lagadapati Rajagopal swung into action and claimed that all-out efforts under the leadership of Kiran Kumar Reddy would be made to ensure that the division of the state does not take place.
After continuing as Chief Minister of a major state in the country, Kiran Kumar Reddy is believed to be getting the opinion that immediately there are no chances for him to obtain any political offices after 2014 elections. All two Lok Sabha seats from his native Chittoor districts are reserved for Scheduled Castes. So he cannot contest in Lok Sabha polls. It would also be difficult for him to get re-election to the assembly in the present political scenario, where Congress prospects are bound to be disastrous in the coming polls. By emerging as a champion for the cause of united Andhra Pradesh, he is expecting to emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the state so that he can bargain for some positions in the years to come. It will also help Congress party need not remain at the mercy of YS Jaganmohan Reddy, as Kiran Kumar Reddy’s presence in a `new avatar’ of another sub-regional party chief would definitely check the influence of YSR Congress Party. The major opposition Telugu Desam Party leaders are keenly watching movements of Kiran Kumar Reddy expecting that the move to float a new party would benefit them by dividing votes of Jaganmohan Reddy.
By Ch. Narendra from Hyderabad