Strike in Seemandhra region will continue: APNGO

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Hyderabad, Oct 12: The Andhra Pradesh Non-Gazetted Officers Association has asserted there was no going back on its demand for keeping the state united even as it said the indefinite strike by the government employees in Seemaandhra region would continue.

"Some sections like power sector employees, teachers, the state Secretariat employees and Road Transport Corporation staff, withdrew from the strike only temporarily as part of a strategy to avoid inconvenience to people. It doesn't mean that we have given up our agitation or the main demand for a united state," APNGOs Association president P Ashok Babu said.

It is recalled that power sector employees in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions on Thursday "temporarily" called off their indefinite strike in view of cyclonic storm Phailin.

"All of them will join us and step up the agitation if the Bill (for creation of Telangana) comes up before Parliament," he told a meet-the-press programme organised by the AP Journalists Forum here this afternoon.

Ashok Babu pointed out that the Cabinet note on the state bifurcation got delayed by 60 days only because of their agitation. "A set time schedule has to be followed in the event of division of a state.

Our indefinite strike and the people's spontaneous agitation have disturbed that schedule and now it may further gets delayed. We are hopeful the bifurcation process doesn't move forward even now," he noted.

Ashok Babu said he would meet leaders of all political parties, including those at the national level, to press the case against the division of Andhra Pradesh.

"I am ready to meet even Telangana Rashtra Samiti president K Chandrasekhar Rao, if he permits, to convince him on the need for a unified state. After all, the demand for Telangana state is only political and does not have any other basis," he said.

Referring to issues concerning employees, the APNGO leader said the Centre should come clear on Article 371 (D) of the Constitution. "No other state has such special provision in the Constitution on employees' issues.

The Centre should clearly spell out what it will do to Article 371 (D) in the event of a division," he said. Replying to a question, Ashok Babu said they would not meet the Group of Ministers constituted by the Centre to look into issues related to the bifurcation.

"If we confer with the GoM and discuss various issues, we will be compromising on the main demand of keeping the state united. Hence, we will not like to meet the GoM," he said.

Since the Telangana statehood demand was only political, Ashok Babu said he personally felt a power-sharing deal could be worked out wherein Telangana leaders could be handed over reins of the state.

"Yes, a Telangana leader can be made the Chief Minister to avoid the state bifurcation," he said.

PTI

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