Throwing a direct challenge at the Congress high command, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy today said he would ensure the defeat of the AP Reorganisation Bill 2013 when it comes up for passage in the state Assembly.
"We will certainly defeat the draft Bill when it is referred to the assembly. We will see how Parliament will pass it," the Chief Minister, who had been stoutly opposing the state's bifurcation, said.
"Realise your mistake and take back the decision to divide AP. Your decision is hurting the hearts of 75 per cent people of the state," the Chief Minister said addressing a public meeting at Vijayawada this evening to mark the inauguration of an irrigation project on river Krishna.
"Don't split the state to serve someone's vested interests. The country and the state are permanent. Not individuals," he said.
"If you are seeking to divide the state as per the demand of (TRS president) KCR or eyeing the support of (YSRC chief) Jagan, join them in the party and make them Chief Minister but keep the state united," Kiran said in his hard-hitting speech.
He also suggested making (TDP chief) Chandrababu Naidu, who too reportedly favoured bifurcation, the Chief Minister.
Invoking the name of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Kiran wanted everyone to recall her speech in Parliament when the demand for division of AP had come up in early 1970s.
"She wanted the state to remain united and tied a tight knot. It is sad Congress is now seeking to untie that knot," he observed.
Congress was axing the branch it was sitting on, he remarked, reminding the party about how the state had long been its strong support base.
"Is providing solid support to the party the folly of AP people?" he said.
Referring to the ongoing four-month-long agitation for united AP, Kiran said "our Delhi elders have shut their eyes, ears and mouths".
Claiming that Telangana region was never neglected in terms of development, the Chief Minister recalled there used to be only one major college in Hyderabad years ago.
"Now, there are hundreds of colleges and universities in Hyderabad. Is this not development?" he said.
He maintained no Chief Minister, hailing from whichever region of the state, did any injustice to Telangana over the years.
The Chief Minister reiterated that distributing and sharing of river waters would be a major problem if the state was divided.
"We could build major irrigation projects like Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar as the state was united. We can't do that if the state is split," he warned.
He also said an additional 47 per cent of land was brought under irrigation in Telangana region after 1956 when AP came into being.
"Now, because of the ongoing projects, many more lakhs of acres of land will get irrigated. If the state is divided, irrigation projects built depending on surplus water will go waste," Kiran said.
Pointing to Polavaram multi-purpose project, he said 307 tmc ft of water in river Godavari, which was otherwise going waste into Bay of Bengal, could be utilised, thereby stabilising an ayacut of 23 lakh acres.
Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister dedicated the first phase of Dr K L Rao Sagar (Pulichintala) irrigation project to the nation.
The project, a balancing reservoir on river Krishna, is being built at a cost of Rs 1281 crore to store 45.7 tmc ft of water.
This will help stabilise an ayacut of 13.08 lakh acres in Guntur, Krishna, Prakasam and West Godavari districts.
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