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Dissidence In AP Ministry Over Portfolio Ends

PTI 03 Dec 2010, 11:15:24 IST
PTI
Hyderabad, Dec 3:  The dissidence in N Kiran Kumar Reddy ministry in Andhra Pradesh over allocation of portfolios ended last night with Congress high command succeeding in mollifying the sulking ministers.

Nine of the 10 ministers who were unhappy with the portfolios given to them attended the cabinet meeting held here this evening but V Vasant Kumar, who sent his resignation to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy late Wednesday night, stayed away.

Vasant Kumar, who had held Rural Development ministry in the previous K Rosaiah government and was given charge of Tourism ministry in the Reddy ministry, said in a press release today stuck to his decision to resign from the ministry and said he would only continue as an MLA.

With dissidence raising its head within hours after allocation of portfolios,  the party high command intervened to resolve the issue deploying Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to talk to the dissident ministers, party sources said.

They said Patel and Azad spoke to senior minister Botsa Satyanarayana who was seen as leading the dissidents against Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Botsa reportedly told the AICC leaders that a lot of "injustice" was done to the backward castes in the allocation of portfolios as all the plum departments were handed over to the Reddys only.

Senior ministers A Rama Narayana Reddy and K Jana Reddy were also understood to have tried to mollify the dissatisfied ministers like Satyanarayana on behalf of the Chief Minister.

The efforts have paid off as Satyanarayana attended the cabinet meeting.

The ministers met the Chief Minister before the Cabinet meeting and expressed their views on the allocation of portfolios, the sources said.

The Chief Minister was understood to have assured the dissident ministers that their concerns would be addressed in course of time.

"I never said I am unhappy with the portfolio. But the distribution of portfolios, funds allocation and other issues should have a scientific method. Backward classes, who constitute 80 per cent of population, should get proper representation. Congress always stands for weaker sections. I told our leadership that some negligence took place on this count. That is my opinion and not about the portfolio given to me," Satyanarayana said.

He was referring to the Reddy community getting 14 cabinet berths out of the total 39 while backward classes getting 10. Major portfolios like Finance, Agriculture and Municipal Administration were given to the Reddys.

PCC sources said senior ministers like Dharmana Prasada Rao and , who is stated to be unhappy over his shift from the important revenue portfolio in the previous government to roads and building in the present dispensation, and Ponnala Lakshmaiah are likely to brought round by be given charge of additional ministries.

Damodar Rajanarasimha, a Dalit leader from Telangana region who was said in the race for Deputy Chief Ministership, expressed confidence that the post would be announced soon.

"I am confident that high command would announce the post of Deputy Chief Minister as promised by them," he said.

In Rajahmundry, former Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Minister P Subash Chandra Bose, a key supporter of ex-Congress MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, said he resigned from his post on moral grounds.

"It was not good for me to continue as a Minister in the Cabinet as I was keenly participating in 'Odarupu (consolation) Yatra', organised by Jagan Mohan Reddy," Bose told PTI.

As a Minister, I have some moral values and responsibilities. That is why, I decided to step down from the post," he said.

Bose said he will decide on his future after meeting Jagan, who quit Congress on November 29 and also resigned as Lok Sabha MP from Kadapa.

He said Jagan's resignation was an "irreparable" damage to the Congress. PTI