The sudden stripping of the Legislative Affairs portfolio from D. Sridhar Babu has triggered a fresh round of controversy between the Congress' Telangana-Seemandhra leaders
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s sudden decision of divesting Minister D. Sridhar Babu of the Legislative Affairs portfolio kicked up a storm in the ruling Congress on Wednesday with Telangana leaders saying his action was “vindictive,” and exposed his attempt to derail the bifurcation process.
On a day of high drama, Mr. Sridhar Babu, who held the Civil Supplies portfolio, threatened to resign from the Cabinet but was restrained by his colleagues from the region from taking any hasty step.
Congress leaders from Telangana held a series of meetings and targeted the Chief Minister for taking a decision with “an ulterior motive,” ahead of the crucial debate on the A.P. Reorganisation Bill 2013 on January 3.
“We are not questioning the Chief Minister’s authority on changing the portfolios but are condemning the manner in which it was done it,” Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy said.
I am hurt: Sridhar Babu
Mr. Sridhar Babu called on Mr. Jana Reddy and even drafted a letter of resignation. “I am hurt by the way the decision was taken,” he told The Hindu.
He asserted that he had only performed his duty when the Bill was tabled in the Assembly. All these years as Minister of Legislative Affairs he had not violated any rules or conventions.
The action against the Minister sparked protests with a bandh being observed in his native Karimnagar district while Congress leaders staged a sit-in at Gandhi Bhavan, the PCC headquarters. Lashing out at the Chief Minister, TRS floor leader in the Assembly E. Rajender urged Telangana Congress members to come out of the government.
A delegation of Telangana Ministers rushed to Governor, E.S.L. Narasimhan to complain to him against the Chief Minister. Mr. Jana Reddy, termed the action “undemocratic and immoral”.
Keywords: Telangana issue, Andhra Pradesh bifurcation, AP Reorganisation Bill, Telangana Bill, Seemandhra Congress leaders, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Legislative Affairs portfolio, D. Sridhar Babu