Making light of criticism by Telangana leaders about divesting Minister D. Sridhar Babu of the Legislative Affairs portfolio and allocating Commercial Taxes, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said the change was aimed at bolstering the falling tax revenue.

The Commercial Taxes revenue fell by 9.5 per cent and the department was in need of special attention, he said. In a tete-a-tete with the media persons who called on him on New Year Day here on Tuesday, Mr. Reddy said that it was his prerogative of the Chief Minister to change Ministers’ portfolios. Thus he would not respond to the remarks of some Ministers.

Replying to a query, he said it would not make any difference as one would have to adhere to the legislature guidelines, traditions and conventions.

Mr. Kiran Reddy said he had never criticised the ruling Congress only spoke about the policy decisions taken by the party. Asked to respond to reports about his plans to launch of a new political party, he said it was a fact that some were in favour of it but he was not thinking about it. His focus now was only on the discussion in the Legislature on the AP Reorganisation Bill.

A batsman would have to play depending on the ball but not based on the imaginary ball. He could not forecast the future, he said. Each group was entitled to its opinion on bifurcation and one need not condemn the other. On the question of seeking additional time for the discussion, the Chief Minister said he would think about it only after the discussion began. The House would discuss the merits and demerits of the bifurcation.Mr. Reddy disclosed that he had been receiving more letters from Telangana region to keep the State united. Replying to a query, he said Assembly Speaker and Council Chairman would take a decision on adopting a resolution for the integrated State.

If the YSR Congress was against bifurcation, it should let its legislators’ opinions go on the records of the House instead of speaking before the media. The truth behind Chandrababu Naidu and Jaganmohan Reddy’s brand of integrated State would come to light only in the House.