Kiran Reddy announces new party to 'uphold Telugus' dignity'



Ending the suspense over his political future, former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Thursday announced his decision to float a new political party to uphold the "dignity and prestige of Telugu people".

He told reporters that the name of the party, its policies and other details will be announced at a public meeting on March 12 at Rajahmundry. Three of the six MPs expelled by Congress were present when Kiran Reddy made the announcement.

He said since no Telugu with self-respect can vote for the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSR Congress for their role in dividing Andhra Pradesh, they decided to form a new party so that people get an opportunity to cast their votes.

Kiran Reddy, who quit as chief minister on Feb 19 and also resigned from Congress to oppose bifurcation of the state, said their party would work for upholding the pride of Telugus not just in Seemandhra and Telangana but wherever they live.

"Our party will contest elections in Andhra Pradesh," he remarked to queries if they would also field candidates in Telangana.

Alleging that the division of the state in violation of all rules, procedures and conventions broke the hearts of Telugu people, Kiran Reddy promised that his party will assuage their hurt feelings.

"I sacrificed the post of chief minister for the sake of Telugu people," he said while denying that they were floating the party for positions of power. To a query, Kiran Reddy hoped that Telangana and Seemandhra will re-unite.

"Two parts of a country like Germany reunited by demolishing a wall between them. There is not even a wall here," he said.

Kiran Reddy was harsh in his criticism of TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and YSR Congress leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, accusing them of cooperating in the state's division for the sake of the chief minister's post.

He said Naidu never spoke against bifurcation while Jaganmohan Reddy publicly opposed bifurcation but privately helped in the division.

On the allegations that he was floating the party to divert public attention from allegations of corruption, Kiran Reddy challenged his rivals to prove the allegations.

"My political career and the three years I served as chief minister are like an open book. I challenge them to prove the allegations. I am not afraid of any probe," he said.

Expelled Congress MPs L. Rajagopal, Sabbam Hari and Harsha Kumar were present. Kiran Reddy said other MPs could not make it to the press conference. - IANS