Protests continue over Telangana, 13 Congress legislators resign

Stepping up pressure on Cong to rescind its decision on Telangana, a minister, 9 MLAs and 4 MLCs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema resigned.

Hyderabad: Stepping up the pressure on Congress leadership to rescind its decision on Telangana, a minister, nine MLAs and four MLCs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema on Thursday resigned as widespread protests continued in non-Telangana regions for the second day today.

Jittery over the fallout of the Telangana move in two other regions of Andhra Pradesh, two days after the Centre`s ruling UPA and Congress put their stamp of approval on the proposal to carve out a new state, Minister of Infrastructure and Investment Ganta Srinivasa Rao put in his papers.

Compounding the woes for the ruling Congress, a spate of resignations followed with nine party MLAs and four MLCs putting in their papers.

The MLAs handed over their papers to the the Secretary of the Legislative Assembly, while the MLCs forwarded their letters to the Council Chairman.

The MLAs who resigned are J C Diwakar Reddy, Gade Venkat Reddy, Daggubati Venkateswara Rao, Venkataramaiah, Murali Krishna, Ugranarasimha Reddy, Bangaru Usharani, K Sudhakar and C Adinarayana Reddy.

The MLCs who quit are Mohammed Jani, Rudraraju Padma Raju, Gade Srinivasulu Naidu and Paladugu Venkat Rao.

Though it was expected that about 30 legislators would put in their papers today, only 13 eventually did.

One more MLA K Nageswara Rao claimed he had submitted his resignation to Andhra Pradesh Congress President Botsa Satyanarayana.

In his resignation letter addressed to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Ganta said his conscience was not permitting him to continue as a Cabinet minister as the recent developments (over the state`s bifurcation) were against the "wishes, sentiments and aspirations" of the people.

"As an ardent supporter and as a representative of people wishing and praying for united Andhra Pradesh, it is very painful to note that the UPA government decided in favour of separating the state into two.

"I strongly believe that the development is not at all acceptable to the people whom I represent. In view of the developments, I hereby tender my resignation from the Cabinet ministership," he said.

Meanwhile, protests against Andhra Pradesh`s
bifurcation continued unabated for the second consecutive day today with pro-united Andhra supporter taking out rallies and preventing public transport buses from plying.
Protests were reported from various places in Krishna, East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Kadapa and Anantapur districts.

While the hunger strike launched by students at Andhra University in Visakhaptnam entered its third day, lawyers did not attend courts as a part of their 72-hour boycott in Visakhapatnam and other districts.

Some pro-united Andhra outfits have been observing a 72-hour shut down at places like Visakhapatnam.

According to police, the situation was peaceful so far and no incident of violence was reported.

Educational institutions and commercial establishments remained shut at several places in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, reports reaching here said.

Protests were held outside the offices and residences of some public representatives demanding their resignation to mount pressure on the Centre to revoke the decision.

At least three policemen were injured in an attack by agitators in Anantapur town as incidents of stone throwing at government offices and damage to statues of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were reported from there yesterday.

Central paramilitary forces and state police have been deployed in sensitive areas to maintain peace and order.