People more important than party, say central ministers from Andhra

Hyderabad, Sep 14 (IANS) Making it clear that division of Andhra Pradesh is not acceptable to them, central ministers and Congress MPs from Seemandhra Saturday put the leadership on notice, saying people are more important for them than the party.

At a meeting held here, they decided to meet the central leaders again and urge them to withdraw the Congress Working Committee (CWC) decision to carve out separate Telangana state.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Textiles Minister K. Sambasiva Rao said they were ready to make any sacrifice, if any further action was taken to divide the state.

"We will tell the high command that we are disciplined members of party but we believe that when a decision is taken which can destroy people's future, we stand by them as people are important than the party," he said.

This is the first time since July 30 decision of CWC that all central ministers and MPs met in Hyderabad to strongly oppose it.

Union ministers M.M. Pallam Raju, D.Purandeswari, K. Chiranjeevi, J.D. Seelam and K. Suryaprakash Reddy and MPs participated in the meeting, which comes in the wake of continuing protests and indefinite strike by government employees and teachers in Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra).

Denying that there was any change in their stand, Sambasiva Rao said they would bring Antony committee to Hyderabad and possibly to other parts of the state. "We want to show them that it is a people's agitation and there are no political leaders behind it," he said.

Chiranjeevi said the fact that Congress leadership formed Antony committee showed that it was reconsidering the decision. He was confident that the decision would be rolled back.

Meanwhile, demanding Chiranjeevi's resignation, 'Samaikya' or united Andhra activists staged a protest at his residence here. The tourism minister also faced protest at the venue of a function.

Members of Vishal Andhra Maha Sabha also tried to lay siege to the Ministers' Quarters, demanding resignations of all state ministers.

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