Rosaiah resigns as Andhra CM, CLP to elect new leader

Rosaiah resigns as Andhra CM, CLP to elect new leader

Hyderabad: In a sudden development, Andhra Pradesh chief minister K Rosaiah resigned on Wednesday triggering speculation that this could be part of a Congress Telangana package ahead of the submission of a report on the separate statehood demand.

“I have decided to step down from the chief minister’s post purely due to personal reasons. There are no political reasons. I am telling you this from my heart," 77-year-old Rosaiah told reporters minutes before he tendered his resignation to Governor E S L Narasimhan.

“I was in an advanced age by the time the responsibility was thrust on me. As chief minister I had to shoulder a lot of work load, looking after various departments and co-ordinating their activities. Nevertheless, I have discharged my duties to the best of my ability," he said.

Rosaiah, who was always seen as a stop-gap arrangement in the aftermath of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s death in September last year, was in Delhi yesterday and the High Command is understood to have conveyed to him about the need for a change of guard.

The resignation also came ahead of a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party in the evening when the leadership question will be discussed.

A battery of heavyweight leaders, including Pranab Mukherjee, A K Antony, Veerappa Moily and Ghulam Nabi Azad, will attend the meeting as central observers.

The resignation immediately triggered speculation over who would succeed Rosaiah with names of speaker Kiran Kumar Reddy, information minister Geetha Reddy and union minister S Jaipal Reddy doing the rounds.

Apart from the pinpricks from Jagan, the Congress governments in the state and at the Centre have been facing the ticklish problem of Telangana statehood demand over which the Justice B N Srikrishna committee is set to submit its report by 31 December.

Observers feel that the Congress strategy would be to have a government that would face the new situation after the Telangana report is made public.

Among the names of the successors doing the rounds, speaker Reddy hails from the Rayalaseema region, while both Jaipal Reddy and Geetha Reddy belong to the Telangana region.

68-year-old Jaipal Reddy may probably have an edge as he is considered an integrationist and was not vocal about the separate state demand. Because of his stand on unity, he may also be may be acceptable to Congress leaders from Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions of the state.