A Supreme Court bench headed by CJ P. Sathasivam agreed to list his plea against bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad: The last chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh, Kiran Kumar Reddy, on Thursday announced plans to launch a new political party, and moved the Supreme Court against the Centre’s decision to divide the state into Telangana and Seemandhra.
Reddy, who quit as chief minister and resigned from the Congress last month to protest the division of the state into Telangana and Seemandhra, said his party would fight for “Telugu self respect", evoking a slogan made popular in the 1980s by late Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder N.T. Rama Rao.
Andhra Pradesh is to be divided into two with the creation in June of a separate state of Telangana.
A Supreme Court bench headed by chief justice P. Sathasivam agreed to list his plea along with other petitions against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh which will be taken up on Friday.
Reddy told a media conference in Hyderabad that he would announce the name of the party and explain its agenda at a public meeting in Rajahmundry town in coastal Andhra on 12 March.
“The party’s primary goal is to protect the self-respect and interests of Telugus," Reddy said.
He criticized the leaders of all the parties including the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) for not protecting the interests of the state.
“Ours is people’s party. It is for the common man," he said.
Kiran Reddy said another reason for starting the new political group weeks before the national election begins was that its founding members do not want voters favouring a united Andhra Pradesh to exercise the NOTA (none of the above) option, which gives voters the choice to reject all the candidates in their respective constituencies.
“Telugu people are not in position to vote for any of these parties thanks to the way they have behaved," Kiran Reddy said.
Some analysts disagreed.
“Kiran Reddy’s party won’t get deposits in any part of the state," said E. Venkatesu, political science professor at University of Hyderabad. “It is not at all going to be an influential factor." Parliament last month passed the contentious Telangana Bill by voice vote. The Bill became an Act on 2 March when it was published in the official gazette. The official date for the formation of Telangana state is 2 June.
Kiran Reddy said his party “will contest in Andhra Pradesh state", when asked which constituencies it would be fielding candidates from.
Telangana goes to polls on 30 April and Seemandhra will exercise its mandate a week later on 7 May. Elections to both the Lok Sabha and the state assembly will be held simultaneously.
The former chief minister, who quit on 19 February, hit out at the YSR Congress Party and the Telugu Desam Party, the two parties his unnamed political outfit will have to encounter in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, which have seen protests opposing the division of Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh.
“Any person with dignity and self-respect will not vote for these two parties here, or the two national parties which are there—Congress party and BJP for the way they divided the state," Kiran Reddy said.
Citing poll surveys, Venkatesu, however, said the new party has bleak chances in Seemandhra.
“Kiran Reddy has neither the support of government employees, rural masses, nor any other electoral vote bank," Venkatesu said. “It is a fight between YSRCP and TDP (in Seemandhra)."