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Crisis in Andhra as minister quits, 10 others unhappy

Thursday December 02, 2010 12:25:29 PM, IANS

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Hyderabad: The Congress government in Andhra Pradesh plunged into crisis Thursday, less than 24 hours after the new cabinet was sworn in, with a minister resigning over the portfolio given to him and 10 other senior ministers also expressing their unhappiness amid indications that they too could quit.

In a midnight drama, Vatti Vasantha Kumar sent his resignation both as minister and member of legislative assembly.

His move came a few hours after Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy allocated the tourism portfolio to him. He was rural development minister in the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and K. Rosaiah cabinets.

K. Venkat Reddy also told his supporters that he would quit as he was given an insignificant portfolio - infrastructure and investment. He was earlier the minister for information technology.

The portfolios were announced at 9 p.m. Wednesday, nearly 12 hours after 39 ministers were inducted in the cabinet.

Ten other ministers, including seniors like Dharmana Prasada Rao, Botsa Satyanarayana, Ponnala Laxmaiah, J. Krishna Rao, Damodar Rajanarasimha and Kanna Laxminarayana were also unhappy with the portfolios given to them.

Mukesh Goud and D. Nagender, both from Hyderabad, were also sulking. They had a secret meeting at ministers' quarters to chalk out their future course of action.

They were not likely to attend the first meeting of the new cabinet scheduled to be held at 4.30 p.m. Thursday.

The senior ministers who were given key portfolios by YSR in his first cabinet (2004-09) and retained them in the second, felt that injustice had been done to them by allocating insignificant portfolios.

Dharmana Prasada Rao, who was minister for revenue in earlier cabinet, was made minister for roads and buildings.

Botsa Satyanarayana, who earlier held panchayat raj, was given the transport department. Ponnala Laksmaiah was unhappy over getting information technology instead of major irrigation - a portfolio he had been holding for the last six years.

Minister Kasu Venakatakrishna Reddy and former speaker Suresh Reddy began efforts on behalf of the chief minister to hold talks with the ministers unhappy with their portfolios.

The group of senior ministers feels that Kiran Kumar had shown undue favour to the Reddy community by giving them top 10 portfolios.

Dalit legislators in the Congress are also unhappy with Kiran Kumar for going back on the promise to make a Dalit from Telangana deputy chief minister.

Though the central leadership of the party had announced that a leader from Telangana will be deputy chief minister, Kiran Kumar has not named anybody yet.

About 10 legislators Thursday began a meeting at the residence of Damodar Rajanarasimha, who was likely to be appointed as deputy chief minister, to chalk out their future course of action.





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