Retired hurt! That best sums up cricketer-turned-politician N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s resignation from the post of Andhra Pradesh chief minister as well as from Congress on Wednesday in protest against the decision to divide the state.
Gov. E. S. L. Narasimhan has accepted his resignation. The state, given the fluid situation with the bifurcation likely to happen sooner than later, will in all likelihood be brought under president’s rule.
Reddy, who has a penchant to use cricketing parlance while describing political situations, would often say that no match is over till the last ball is played, when he was asked in the past about his party’s decision to divide the state. And now his innings has come to an end.
Before meeting the governor at Raj Bhavan to hand over his resignation letter, Reddy flanked by eight Cabinet colleagues and a dozen legislators, told media persons he was dismayed and distressed by the developments that unfolded in the past few days culminating in the Lok Sabha passing the Telangana bill on Tuesday. “The division of the state is not going to benefit anyone. There are dark days ahead for all the Telugu people including students, farmers and government employees. And all the parties including BJP, Telugu Desam, YSR Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Congress are responsible for the disgraceful manner in which the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. We hang our head in shame today,” Reddy said, putting up a brave front in the wake of severe criticism from his own party and colleagues.
He said all the points and objections raised by the state government were ignored. “Does the Constitution provide for a draft bill to be discussed in the State Assembly? Can a bill be taken up in Parliament when MPs from the state concerned stand suspended? Why was the live telecast of the proceedings in Lok Sabha blacked out when the Telangana bill was taken up? The government has to explain on all these issues,” he said.
Reddy, pointing out that Andhra Pradesh came into existence after a lot of sacrifices, said the state had progressed well in the decades of its existence.
“58 years of unity between Telugu people has been shattered by the decision to divide the state,” he said, adding that it was complete mockery of parliamentary democracy.
“I am thankful to the Congress for giving me the opportunity to serve the state as chief minister, but I can’t continue in office or be a member of a party which is dividing the Telugu people.
Posts do not matter to me when it comes to the welfare of my state. I am also not against the aspirations of the people of Telangana region,” the former chief minister said.
When asked about speculation that he would be launching a new party, Reddy evaded a direct reply, stating that his political future was not important.
“I would have continued in Congress if I was politically ambitious and selfish,” he said, taking a dig at some of his Cabinet colleagues who have been claiming that he had taken them for a ride for the sake of power.
Reddy may go down in history as the last chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh with the state likely to be brought under president’s rule in a couple of days. He was sworn in as the 16th chief minister of Andhra Pradesh on Nov. 25, 2010. Reddy’s appointment then had raised several questions since he was directly elevated to the top post in the state from that of the Assembly speaker, without any administrative experience.