New Delhi/Hyderabad, Feb 5 :
Opposing the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Wednesday sat on a silent protest in the national capital.
Union ministers, Congress MPs and state ministers and legislators from Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) region joined the chief minister in the protest, asking the central government not to table the bill for formation of a Telangana state in parliament.
Defying the Congress leadership, the chief minister and his supporters sat on the day-long protest to demand that the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2013 be rejected in both houses of the state assembly should not be tabled in parliament.
Central ministers K.S. Rao, Pallam Raju, K. Chiranjeevi and D. Purandeswari, state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana and a large number of party workers from Seemandhra participated in the protest.
They shouted slogans in support of a united Andhra.
The chief minister reached the Jantar Mantar area in the city centre after paying tributes at Rajghat – Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial on the banks of the Yamuna river.
He and his supporters travelled in a bus from Andhra Pradesh Bhavan to Jantar Mantar.
Tension prevailed at the Bhavan when Telangana supporters including ministers from the region tried to stop the convoy.
The chief minister raised his fist and shouting slogans in support of a united Andhra while boarding the bus even as his cabinet colleagues and other Congress leaders from Telangana tried to stop the convoy.
A scuffle broke out between the two groups, forcing police to intervene.
“We had to convince the pro-Telangana supporters to allow them (anti-Telangana supporters) to protest. Only then were they allowed to advance towards Rajghat,” a police official told IANS.
Ministers from Telangana criticized the chief minister for staging the protest in defiance of the party leadership.
D.K. Aruna, one of the ministers, said Kiran Reddy’s behaviour was unbecoming of a chief minister.