Hyderabad: Complicating things for the Congress party in Andhra Pradesh, Y.S. Vijayamma—widow of former state chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and honorary president of the YSR Congress Party—will go on an indefinite fast from 19 August in Vijayawada demanding the state be kept united.

“Vijyamama will undertake the indefinite fast demanding the Centre to maintain status quo if it cannot do justice to all regions," senior YSR Congress Party leader M.V. Mysoora Reddy said on Wednesday. “The indefinite fast is aimed at highlighting the failure of the Centre to do justice to all regions in the process of division of the state and (for) conducting (itself) in an authoritarian manner by taking unilateral decisions which are affecting multitude of people of one region," Reddy told a press conference.

Floated by Congress rebel and Kadapa member of Parliament (MP) Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the YSR Congress Party had not explicitly spelled out its stand on the statehood issue during two all-party meetings convened before 30 July, but has of late said it wants to keep the state united, owing to its stronger presence in the Seemandhra region. The coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions are collectively known as Seemandhra.

The Congress party and its allies on 30 July announced their intention to carve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh with Hyderabad as the joint capital of the two Telugu speaking States for a period of 10 years.

The decision drew criticism from the Seemandhra region. Demonstrations continued for the 15th consecutive day in 13 districts of Seemandhra with state government employees of various departments boycotting duties.

Vijayamma also sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday objecting to the division of the state.

“Doing justice to one region does not mean causing injustice to the other regions. This fundamental principle was ignored by Congress party which has priorities in votes and seats," Vijayamma wrote in her letter. “It is not fair on part of the Centre to keep with it the powers of restructuring any state unless it can take decisions that would be agreeable to concerned parties without injustice to any region," she said.

Mysoora Reddy questioned why the Congress party is proceeding with the bifurcation without discussing the findings of the Justice Sri Krishna Committee report, which examined the contentious Telangana statehood issue in detail.

Jagan Reddy resigned as member of Parliament on 10 August, while his mother quit as legislator from the state assembly, protesting against the unilateral decision of the Congress party to divide the state. Sixteen party legislators from the Seemandhra region resigned on 25 July, prior to the 30 July decision of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA), while the party’s second MP from Lok Sabha Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy, representing the Nellore constituency, resigned from office on 5 August.

The ruling Congress party and the principal opposition Telugu Desam Party are also divided on the issue with their legislators and MPs quitting office in solidarity with the feelings of people from their constituencies, although the parties’ leaderships had taken an in-principle stand favouring statehood to Telangana. Eleven state cabinet ministers and as many as 19 MPs resigned as they favour keeping the state united.

Jagan Reddy broke ranks with the Congress party after being sidelined by the central leadership following the death of his father Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash in September 2009. He is currently lodged in prison in a disproportionate assets case linking his growth in income to alleged quid pro quo investments in his companies during the tenure of his father as chief minister.

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