They may be facing an internal dissent and the possibility of Kiran Kumar Reddy walking away but the Congress has no intention of slowing down on the creation of Telangana and hopes to have the new state in place by the 2014 elections.
The Economic Times quoted a senior minister as saying that they have been given the go ahead by the core committee of the Congress, and Kiran Kumar Reddy has been told to fix the dates for the special session of the state Assembly to clear the Telangana Bill.
"With the political interactions with the GoM of the last two days having amply demonstrated once again that a majority of political parties, not just the Congress, are supporting the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the time has come for us to move forward," the minister was quoted as saying.
The minister said that given they had consensus from across political parties to split the state there was no reason to wait.
The Group of Ministers considering views on the issue is expected to clear the draft Bill to create the state soon and the Cabinet is expected to clear it within the next two weeks, the report said.
The Bill will be then sent by the President to the state Assembly and Parliament. Opposition from the state assembly won't halt the process as long as the UPA government can get Parliament to pass the legislation. Given the BJP has openly favoured the creation of Telangana, it will have little reason to oppose the bill when it comes up in Parliament.
However, the uncertainty over Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy's next step continues to be a problem for the Congress.
While the Economic Times hints that a stand-in could be brought in in the event that Reddy refuses to co-operate and resigns, a Hindu report indicates that it isn't as easy for the Congress to remove him and Reddy could even spark a crisis by dramatically resigning when the Telangana Bill is introduced in the state Assembly.
His staying on as the Chief Minister and brewing discontent within the party has resulted in hurting the Congress' plans to form an alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the Hindu report said.
Reddy has been vehement in his opposition to the decision to form the new state.
“I am for united Andhra Pradesh and there is no change in my stand,” the Chief Minister told reporters on 9 November.
However, despite all his bluster the Chief Minister may not have much of a bargaining chip and the Congress is likely to take advantage of this.
As this Firstpost article notes:
If one were to go by his recent utterances and open challenge to the party high command, it would appear that he is provoking them into initiating some kind of action against him. That would make him a martyr and place him in the same orbit, if not league, as Jagan, Kiran Reddy would then be making his moves from a position of advantage, and not merely be seen as a disgruntled element who tried to grab a political opportunity to further his own career.
It is this reluctance to take a drastic step himself that may result in the Congress calling his bluff and letting Reddy leave if it comes to that.
Given it has no real chance of retaining Andhra Pradesh in 2014 elections, the numbers game may ensure that Congress works quickly to ensure at least one of the two new states is remains in its grasp. Reddy's political career could end up becoming collateral damage.
First Published On : Nov 14, 2013 14:53 IST