Kiran Kumar Reddy skips office, tells Sonia 'don't divide Andhra Pradesh'

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Kiran Kumar Reddy skips office, tells Sonia 'don't divide Andhra Pradesh'

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy

Hyderabad:  Protests over Telangana have brought the Andhra Pradesh government to a virtual standstill, with Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, ministers and half the employees skipping office.

The Chief Ministers and his council of ministers have stayed away from office since last week, when the ruling Congress announced the creation of Telangana, India's 29th state. Sources say meetings and appointments at the state secretariat have been cancelled and files have been piling up.

A majority of the 4,000 employees from the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions, which are opposed to the creation of Telangana, are boycotting work and have threatened an indefinite strike from next week.

These staffers have also been protesting against a reported comment by Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader K Chandrasekhara Rao that "employees from Seemandhra and Rayalaseema should go back to their regions".

'Why should we go? This place belongs to all of us. We came because it is the capital. We were appointed on merit, not as a favour,'' said Dakshayani, a government employee.

The Chief Minister is part of the faction within the ruling Congress which is making last ditch efforts to stop the division of Andhra Pradesh.

"Keep Andhra Pradesh united," Mr Reddy wrote in the letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, delivered on Monday night. The letter was signed by the state Congress chief and top leaders from the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema region.

The letter says the process of creating Telangana should not begin before a two-member committee formed by the party addresses the concerns of coastal and Rayalaseema regions.

Anti-Telangana leaders in the Congress seem to have stepped up their campaign after the YSR Congress's newly aggressive stand against bifurcation. Speaking exclusively to NDTV, party chief Jaganmohan Reddy's sister Sharmila said: "The Congress decision on bifurcation is wicked and shocking. It is gross injustice to lower districts.''



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