How Congress quelled dissidents in Andhra Pradesh

A tough posture adopted by the Congress high command led to the quelling of dissidence among ministers in Andhra Pradesh over allocation of portfolios.

Last Updated: Dec 04, 2010, 00:10 AM IST

Hyderabad: A tough posture adopted by the
Congress high command led to the quelling of dissidence among
ministers in Andhra Pradesh over allocation of portfolios.

The high command reportedly wielded the stick to make the
disgruntled ministers fall in line and accept whatever
portfolios were given to them, highly-placed government
sources said.
A majority of the dissident ministers, including the new
ones, quietly took charge of their assignments without any
further murmur today.

The lone unhappy minister Vatti Vasantha Kumar, who
submitted his resignation to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar
Reddy on Wednesday night protesting allocation of Tourism
portfolio, appeared to be have reconciled today and indicated
that he would withdraw his papers.

As Kiran Kumar Reddy was Sonia Gandhi’s choice for chief
ministership, some of the top AICC leaders, who were deployed
to bring round the dissidents, ensured the rebellion was
stemmed in quick time, the sources said.

K V P Ramchandra Rao, Rajya Sabha member and the Man
Friday of late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, played
trouble-shooter by acting as the main link between the Chief
Minister and the Congress high command.
Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, Union
Ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and M Veerappa Moily chipped in not
only to placate the sulking ministers but also to subtly warn
them that any such public show of discontent would not be
tolerated.

A senior minister, who was perceived to have triggered
the rebellion, was reportedly told by the high command in no
uncertain terms that the list of portfolios was "final" as it
was cleared by Sonia Gandhi herself.

When he sought to counter by saying that backward classes
did not get a fair share of ministerial berths, the Congress
central leaders were understood to have told him: "we have a
list of everyone’s acts of omissions and commissions of the
past. Don’t try to dictate anything."

The minister promptly assumed charge of his new portfolio
today.

Reading the high command’s signals, other ministers too
moved into their chambers and got down to business.

PTI