P. Sabitha Indra Reddy’s residence teemed with hundreds of party workers from the early hours of Monday after she resigned from the Council of Ministers. The milling crowd said it all: the high command’s decision has upset them totally.
The high command may have earned kudos for sending out a message that there is no place for Ministers facing allegations, but it will face the daunting task of pacifying the agitated cadre ahead of the local body elections which are round the corner.
Even as the party workers seemed both angry and anguished at what they call the humiliation meted out to their leader, who built a strong cadre in Ranga Reddy district in the last 13 years, Ms. Sabitha herself was a picture of composure, though hurt over her unceremonious exit.
Speaking to The Hindu at her residence with her son Karthik Reddy by her side, Ms. Sabitha said “I did no wrong as I duly followed the procedures and business rules in approving limestone lease to Dalmia Cement. I did not benefit personally. Such GOs were issued by the previous Telugu Desam government too. I have faith in courts and am confident of proving my innocence”.
Ms. Sabitha, who created a record by becoming the first woman Home Minister in the State, maintained that she had never hankered after posts. “As a party worker, I can now spend full time in my constituency and strengthen the Congress in Ranga Reddy district like I did during 2002-04 when the party returned to power,” she said.
‘Followed business rules’
Asked whether she felt she had received a raw deal from the high command, she said “no, I have seen many ups and downs in my life. The party recognised my work and treated me well. Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy studied the files relating to the case against me and was fully convinced that I only followed the business rules”.
“He tried his best to explain the same to the party leadership. But in the changed scenario when two Central Ministers had quit over allegations, the high command thought otherwise, she said elaborating further on the support she got from Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy.
“As a last resort, he even suggested changing my portfolio. But the party thinking was different,” she added.
On the speculation that she would resign from party and likely to join YSRC, she dismissed it as a figment of imagination.
“For 13 years I strived hard and developed a strong cadre. I worked for the success of party in municipal elections, wrested Vikarabad constituency held by A. Chandrasekhar”.
With no burden of Home Ministry, will she be more vocal about Telangana cause ?
“As Home Minister I had a responsibility to ensure law and order.
But personally neither I nor my party ever spoke against Telangana,” she said.
On the possibility of her arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), “I am prepared for anything. But I repeat, I did no wrong and the charge-sheet was already filed”.