Dissidence in Andhra ministry over portfolios ends

The dissidence in N Kiran Kumar Reddy ministry in Andhra Pradesh over allocation of portfolios ended on Thursday with Congress high command succeeding in mollifying the sulking ministers.

Updated: Dec 02, 2010, 22:42 PM IST

Hyderabad: The dissidence in N Kiran Kumar
Reddy ministry in Andhra Pradesh over allocation of portfolios
ended on Thursday 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 last 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 yesterday, 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.
Talking to reporters after the cabinet meeting, B
Satyanarayana said he was not at all dissatisfied with the
Transport portfolio given to him but wanted backward classes
to get adequate representation.

"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.

39 ministers took oath of office and secrecy yesterday
and the allocation of portfolios thereafter had triggered
dissatisfaction among some ministers.

PTI