Rosaiah holds meeting to deal with in party criticism

Andhra CM held a meeting tonight with Telangana Congress MPs and Ministers in order to restrain party leaders from going public with allegations of large-scale corruption in irrigation projects in the state.

Last Updated: Jun 24, 2010, 23:24 PM IST

Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K
Rosaiah held a meeting tonight with Telangana Congress MPs and
Ministers in order to restrain party leaders from going public
with allegations of large-scale corruption in irrigation
projects in the state.

Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah, who has
become a subject of attack from his own party colleagues,
attended the meeting along with his department officials to
"present the facts" and "clear the air" over major irrigation
projects like Polavaram and Pranahita-Chevella, sources who
attended the meeting said.

While Higher Education Minister D Sridhar Babu and
Information Technology Minister Komatireddy Venkat Reddy were
also present, the Andhra Pradesh Congress MPs` Forum convenor
Ponnam Prabhakar led eight Lok Sabha members to the meeting.

The Chief Minister reportedly told the MPs and Ministers
that "some inimical forces" within the party were behind the
vicious campaign launched against his government, sources
said.

"All this is part of a clear conspiracy to defame the
government even though we are sincerely working with the
single-minded objective of ensuring welfare and development.
We are functioning in such a manner that nobody could actually
point a finger at us," Rosaiah reportedly remarked.

The Irrigation Minister sought to allay apprehensions
over the Polavaram multi-purpose irrigation project that was
meant to make optimum use of Godavari water saying it was
designed after wide-ranging consultations and taking all
factors into account.

"It (Polavaram) is in no way detrimental to the interests
of Telangana as being made out," Lakshmaiah asserted.

The meeting was convened following allegations made by
some senior Congress leaders like Palvai Govardhan Reddy and
MP Gutta Sukhender Reddy on the irrigation projects. Govardhan
Reddy alleged that Lakshmaiah had received large kickbacks in
the irrigation projects.

The senior leaders also met state Governor E S L
Narasimhan and petitioned him on the issue though they later
claimed that they raised the issue of Polavaram project design
only.

The seniors also threatened to take up the issue of
corruption with AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh as well but subsequently calmed down following
a meeting with Central Working Committee member K Keshava Rao.

The internal bickering in the Congress came in handy for
the opposition parties which upped their ante over the
large-scale misuse of public funds in execution of irrigation
projects.

It was in this backdrop that the Chief Minister held the
meeting with the Telangana MPs tonight.

PTI