The stage is set for a bitter political battle on the floor of the state Legislative Assembly, beginning Thursday, involving parties, leaders and legislators who are all split vertically on the regional lines on the question of the state bifurcation. Sources said that Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar had agreed to position police in the officers’ boxes inside the House in anticipation of an uncontrolled behaviour by the members when the debate on the draft AP Reorganisation Bill would be taken up as and when it would be referred to the state. The police is also enforcing restrictions on the movement of non-members within the Assembly premises, besides deploying forces around the Assembly building to stop any attempt of forcible entry by the agitators. However, the agenda schedule for the sessions, which is proposed to be conducted for five working days (Thursday and Friday this week and Monday to Wednesday next week), is still not clear. “The exact agenda will be decided at the business advisory committee (BAC) meeting. The agenda will also depend on when the President of India sends the draft Bill for the opinion of the state legislators,” a senior official of the Legislative Assembly, told Business Standard. While the Assembly authorities are still expecting that the President would send the Bill ahead of the BAC meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening, the Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Tuesday afternoon maintained that the Bill was still with the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. A condolence motion is likely to be moved on the opening day of the session, as it was due for the past couple of sessions, to pay respects to the serving and the past members who died recently since this session is expected to be the last one in Andhra Pradesh, according to the officials. However, much bigger and more dramatic events are also expected to take place on the floor of the House, including the likely announcement of the resignation by chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, according to the political observers. The powerful anti-bifurcation lobby within the ruling party is further emboldened by the defeat of the Congress party in the four states to follow its own course of action against the dictates of the party high command, according to them. Half-a-dozen Congress MPs from coastal Andhra had caused enough embarrassment to the party leadership on Monday when they issued notices to move the motion of no confidence against their own government in the Lok Sabha.
This move came soon after these MPs withdrew their resignations, which were pending for a while with the Lok Sabha Speaker, after they were tipped off of the party leadership’s likely move to get them disqualified, according to the reports. A further political consolidation among the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema leaders in the Congress party is highly likely if the Congress leadership fails to manage the situation, the observers said. One of the strong rumours doing the rounds is that of the revival of the plans to launch a new political party in Seemandhra with leaders like Kiran Kumar Reddy and Lagadapati Rajagopal among others at the helm as most of them see complete rout of Congress in Seemandhra in the next elections. “They had almost shelved the idea of floating a new political party after the surveys commissioned by them had given a not-so encouraging political forecast. Now, the same leaders are planning to pursue the option in the given circumstances,” a source in the know told Business Standard. They also fear a raw deal in the hands of the party leadership. Post the bifurcation, the party leadership wants to give a leadership role to the people from the aspiring Kapu community as it thinks Reddys and the powerful Kamma community in this region are no more with them. Meanwhile, the AICC general secretary and in-charge of Andhra Pradesh party affairs, Digvijay Singh, today said in Delhi that he would be visiting the state on Thursday, indicating some tough days ahead for the Congress managers.