By Ramesh Reddy | Hyderabad
The issue of Telangana has split the Congress down the middle in the state of Andhra Pradesh, with one section fiercely opposed to it while another continued to back the party's high command on the formation of the new state. And things may get much worse before they get better for the party in the state.
The party expects over 45 MLAs, including ministers and district level leaders, to make a beeline for rival parties including the TDP and YSR Congress, to ensure that their electoral prospects aren't hit by anti-Telangana sentiment.
The MLAs are reportedly hoping to not fall victim to the strong anti-Telangana sentiment in the Rayalaseema and Seemandhra regions and have already informed the state unit chief about their intentions. "Many of them are also under pressure from their supporters whose numbers are shrinking by the day," Botsa Satyanarayana is quoted.
While the MLAs have been emboldened by Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy's intent to form a new party, other reports indicate that his delay in making the formal announcement has angered them. "The Chief Minister did not reveal his future course of action, but he wants us to follow his direction.
At the last minute if he says that he has no plans to leave the Congress, then what will be our political future?" an MLA was quoted. Reddy's waffling over the decision to form a new party, many of his partymen believe, may come too late to save his political future or those allied with him.
Unfortunately, Reddy has his plate full with trying to ensure that the Andhra Pradesh Assembly passes the legislation for the creation of the new state when it comes up for discussion on 3 January.
Caught between the high command and his own party activists in the state, Reddy will have to overcome the TDP and YSR Congress in the Assembly to pass the bill which is unlikely to stop the formation of the state if it is cleared by Parliament. For Reddy and the Congress, there may be no light at the end of the tunnel any time soon.