HYDERABAD: After a gap of more than two decades, Andhra Pradesh will have a deputy chief minister and he will be from the Telangana region, says the ruling Congress party.
With the movement for statehood to Telangana likely to intensify next month, when the Srikrishna Committee on the Telangana issue is to submit its report, the Congress party has decided to have someone from the region as deputy to N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who was sworn in as the new chief minister Thursday.
M. Veerappa Moily, Congress general secretary in charge of party affairs in the state, told reporters there would be a deputy chief minister from Telangana.
The party leadership is keen to have a leader from the backward community as the deputy chief minister. The names of two senior ministers J. Geeta Reddy and Ponnala Lakshmaiah are doing the rounds.
Moily and another central leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Thursday elicited the views of a cross section of party leaders on choosing the deputy chief minister. They also met Lakshmaiah and state Congress chief D. Srinivas at Lakeview Guest House.
Moily and Azad, who attended the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meet here Wednesday night as central observers along with Pranab Mukherjee and A.K. Antony, stayed back here for consultations.
Though born in Hyderabad, Kiran Kumar comes from Rayalaseema region. Telangana leaders of the party have reluctantly accepted the central leadership’s choice.
Leaders from the backward region have long been demanding the deputy chief minister’s post. The demand picked up momentum in recent months due to the movement for a separate Telangana state.
The leaders point out that under the Gentlemen’s Agreement at the time of formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956, Telangana should get a deputy chief minister if the chief minister is from the other regions.
K.V. Ranga Reddy became the first deputy chief minister of Andhra Pradesh in 1960. J.V. Narasing Rao, B.V. Subba Reddy and C. Jagnnadha Rao were the other former deputy chief ministers.
However, this practice was discontinued in the 1970s. Telangana leaders say this violation of the Gentlemen’s Agreement was one of the key reasons for the demand for separate Telangana state.
Though K. Ranga Rao served as deputy chief minister during the 1980s, the arrangement was not made under Gentleman’s Agreement. Rao was from the Andhra region while then chief minister K. Vijayabhaskar Reddy was from Rayalaseema.(IANS)