YSR in combative mood, defends remarks on Telangana

Hyderabad, April 18 (Inditop) Facing the ire of both the opposition and leaders of his own Congress party for his controversial remarks on Telangana, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was Saturday in a combative mood.

Addressing the media in Guntur while campaigning for the second phase of elections, YSR not only defended his remarks on Telangana but remarked he was not worried that the the opposition parties could complain to the Election Commission alleging he was provoking people of one region against the other.

Hitting back at both the senior leaders of the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP)-led opposition alliance, the chief minister wondered why they were finding fault with his remarks when they were silent on the remarks of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader K. Chandrasekhara Rao.

YSR claimed that he only reiterated what Chandrasekhara Rao had said in the past.

He said he was not worried about senior Congress leaders complaining to the central leadership. “It is because of this attitude of senior leaders that my status has gone up before the high command,” he said.

“Let them complain to the Election Commission, an authority higher than that. I am not worried,” YSR said.

“There is no change in my stand on Telangana,” said the chief minister, who comes from Rayalaseema region and is known to be against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

YSR claimed that his party would win 110 assembly seats out of 154 that went to polls in the first phase. He was confident that the Congress would win 120 out of 150 assembly seats going to polls in the second phase April 23.

The chief minister, addressing a public meeting in Kurnool district after the first phase of polling in Telangana Thursday, said that if the TDP-led alliance comes to power, people of other regions would become foreigners in a separate Telangana state.

He also said the people of Rayalseema and Andhra regions would have to close their educational institutions and shops and even the irrigation projects in these regions would suffer.

The opposition, which also includes TRS and the Left parties, the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress leaders from Telangana and even intellectuals from the region condemned YSR’s remarks and alleged that he was trying to stoke regional feelings for electoral gains.

The TDP-led alliance urged the Election Commission to act against YSR for making provocative statement while BJP demanded criminal action against him.

State’s chief electoral officer I.V. Subba Rao said he was examining the video-clippings of YSR’s speech.

The Congress, in its election manifesto, has said that it has no objection to formation of a Telangana state. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had promised to accord top priority to the issue.

The TDP, which reversed its traditional stand to support Telangana demand last year, has pledged that if voted to power, it will initiate measures for carving out a separate state.