The Congress party launched hectic efforts on Thursday to mollify Ministers in the Andhra Pradesh Government who are unhappy with the portfolios allocated to him by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.
AICC leaders called up the dissatisfied Ministers and advised them not to take any step that would precipitate a crisis in the new Government. Pradesh Congress president D. Srinivas also issued a similar appeal and observed that it was not possible for any Chief Minister to satisfy the demands of everyone.
On his part, Mr. Reddy deputed Finance Minister Anam Ramnarayan Reddy to speak to the sulking Ministers who had gathered at the residence of Minister for Tourism Vatti Vasanth Kumar ahead of the maiden meeting of the new Cabinet scheduled to be held at 4.30 p.m.
Mr. Vasanth Kumar's residence in the Ministers' colony in Jubilee Hills was the focal point of political activity. He was closeted in prolonged discussions with two other senior Ministers Dharmana Prasada Rao ( Roads & Buildings) and Botcha Satyanarayana (Transport). Some other Ministers and Congress MLAs called on them in batches.
The Tourism Minister had sent in his resignation from the Cabinet and the Assembly on Wednesday midnight to register his protest at being entrusted a relatively lighter portfolio compared to Rural Development & NREGS he held in the previous Cabinet. While some Ministers are dissatisfied with their new portfolios, still others allege that the Reddys have been given a lion's share of berths in the 39-member Council of Ministers and allotted plum portfolios to the detriment of the Backward Classes and weaker sections.
Meanwhile, in Srikakulam district, followers of Mr. Prasada Rao stepped up pressure on him to resign to the cabinet on the ground that he was ‘insulted’ with the allocation of a relatively lightweight portfolio compared to Revenue he handled earlier. Several local leaders said the party had failed to suitably reward the Minister who had successfully led the Congress in the elections in Srikakulam, which was traditionally anti-Congress.