Union Minister for Science and Technology S. Jaipal Reddy kept away from the prestigious function marking the launch of Metro rail works in the city on Sunday triggering speculation of his deepening differences with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.
Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL), which has taken up the work in association with L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad Limited had organised the function here where over a dozen Union and State Ministers and elected representatives were invited. Though Mr. Jaipal Reddy was very much in the city, he decided to skip the programme.
Sources said Mr. Jaipal Reddy reportedly stayed away expressing displeasure at the manner in which the invitation was extended to him. They said an invitation was handed over at his Hyderabad office by some lower level staff in total disregard to his position. They recalled that it was Mr. Jaipal Reddy, who as the Union Minister for Urban Development, went out of his way to ensure that the project got viability gap funding to the tune of Rs.1,458 crore. When queried about the Union Minister’s absence, the Chief Minister said he was not aware of it. “I landed this morning from Tirupati and rushed to attend the function,” he said.
The invitations are usually sent by the Government officials, he said. “I will ask them to check what led to the confusion,” he added. Sources in the Hyderabad Metro Rail maintained that a senior official had personally telephoned Mr. Jaipal Reddy after an invitation was extended to him. Congress leaders insist that by skipping the function, the Union Minister wanted to convey the message that his relations with the Chief Minister were not so cordial.