N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has asserted that he had told the party leadership about his intentions to quit from the Chief Minister post immediately after the Congress Working Committee gave its green signal to create a separate Telangana on July 30. “I told party president Sonia Gandhi that it will be difficult for me to continue in the post on that day (July 30) itself, but was asked to continue,” he said in reply to queries at a press conference here on Wednesday.
Opening up for the first time since the past few months, Mr.Reddy admitted that Ms. Gandhi had sought his opinion in February 2011 on the scope for announcing a package for Telangana region in line with the recommendations made by Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee. “The dialogue came at a time when the budget session of the Assembly and Parliament was round the corner. I asked the party leadership to defer the announcement till March 28, 2011 allowing the budget session to conclude,” he said.
Though he had prepared a comprehensive package for Telangana and submitted it to the Central government later, there was no response from the party leadership. “They (the party leadership) sought my feedback on the package, but there was no response even after reminding the party umpteen times,” he recalled.
Mr. Kiran Reddy took a dig at the Central government and the Congress leadership on the manner in which the Bill was rushed through. “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said his heart was bleeding because of the Seemandhra MPs’ gesture of rushing to the Well of the House. But did he ever consider the fact that the hearts of crores of Telugus would bleed by the division of the State?” he asked.
What followed in the Parliament since the Bill had been tabled would make people “hang their heads in shame”. The MPs of the affected region were suspended from the House and some of them were attacked inside the House for raising their voice against bifurcation rather than being taken into confidence on an issue that would impact the future of their constituents. “The Bill has been introduced in a stealthy manner in the Lok Sabha after switching off the live telecast of the proceedings,” he said.
He criticised the party leadership for introducing a Bill rejected by the Assembly in the Parliament in a first of its kind move. “Is it not against the federal spirit of the country? Why has the party leadership decided to bring in new traditions that are not in the interests of the democratic polity?” he questioned.