There is a near scramble by senior legislators after Home Minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy and R&B Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao quit their posts

The next general elections are less than a year away but that has not deterred the Congress legislators from pinning hopes on possible Cabinet reshuffle shortly following the resignations submitted by two Ministers.

There is a near scramble by senior legislators after Home Minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy and Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao quit their posts. The leaders are anticipating that the resignations would be accepted in line with the Congress’ national policy to axe those facing criminal charges.

Developments in the recent past prompted Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to pitch hard for the long-pending reshuffle or at least re-allocation of portfolios. He broached the idea again during his meetings with the party’s high command during his recent visit to New Delhi.

The Chief Minister is keen on easing out his detractors - Health Minister D. L. Ravindra Reddy and Endowments Minister C. Ramachandraiah - for their vitriolic attack on him and the Government. It is not known whether the high command responded sympathetically to his plea but that has not prevented the hopefuls from intensifying lobbying in the Capital.

If the resignations of the two Ministers are accepted then three others – J. Geetha Reddy, Ponnala Lakshmaiah and Kanna Lakshminarayana - facing similar charges may also face the same fate in addition to K. Parthasarathy who is convicted in a case relating to FEMA violation. This would, in turn, result in six vacancies in the Council of Ministers which need to be filled, according to Congress leaders. The Chief Minister is likely to effect the changes before the Assembly resumes on June 10 if the party high command gives a go ahead.

Party leaders point out that former Ministers – J. C. Diwakar Reddy and Gade Venkat Reddy are eyeing Cabinet berths. Likewise, there is also anticipation that those elected from the districts represented by these Ministers would stand a fair chance in the event of their resignations getting accepted.

The hopefuls include Chief Whip Gandra Venkataramana Reddy, Government Whip T. Jayaprakash Reddy, former Minister R. Damodar Reddy, former PCC chief D. Srinivas, PCC coordination committee member Md. Ali Shabbir and K. Yadava Reddy from Telangana.

Sources said senior MLC Paladugu Venkat Rao is expecting cabinet berth, if Mr. Parthasarathy is made to quit his post. Senior MLAs – G. Veerashiva Reddy and C. Adinarayana Reddy from Kadapa are in the race, if Mr. Ramachandraiah and Dr. Ravindra Reddy lose their posts.

Government Whip R. Padmaraju is hopeful of his name being considered on the ground that there is no representation to Kshatriyas in the Cabinet since 2004. Dronamraju Srinivas, G.V. Seshu, G. Kuthuhulamma and Katasani Rambhupal Reddy are also in the race.

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