Fate of ‘tainted Ministers’ to figure in discussions in Delhi

Amid widespread speculation in Congress circles about changes in the party and the re-jig of the Cabinet, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy left for New Delhi on Wednesday to hold consultations with the central leadership.

The visit was kept under wraps by the Chief Minister’s Office for the last few days till Mr. Kiran Reddy took an evening flight. In New Delhi, he would meet AICC president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders.

May meet Manmohan

He would try to get an appointment to meet the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Ministers – A.K. Antony and P. Chidambaram.

Topping the agenda is seeking the advice of the AICC leaders on whether the six Ministers in his Cabinet facing Supreme Court notices in the Jaganmohan Reddy assets case should be dropped or not.

His visit comes at a time when Home Minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy has been summoned by the CBI court in the same case for appearance on June 7.

Ministers issue

There is already talk in the party circles that the ‘tainted Ministers’ could be shown the door in the aftermath of two Union Ministers, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Ashwani Kumar, being sacked. Some say a Cabinet reshuffle could be on the cards but a few others are sceptical whether such an exercise was possible given that Andhra Pradesh would go to polls in 10 months.

The Chief Minister’s visit comes after a spate of complaints against his style of functioning as well as the Ministers meeting Central leaders to lodge complaints. The Chief Minister’s camp was also aggressively targeting the dissident Ministers and PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana who, they say, would be changed by month-end.

On arrival in New Delhi, Mr. Kiran Reddy is expected to first meet AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad and political secretary Ahmed Patel to brief them about the latest political situation in the State and the state of affairs in the party.

He is likely to give his side of version on the strong criticism from his colleagues about taking unilateral decisions, particularly on the launch of ‘Bangaru Talli’ scheme. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister’s critic and Health Minister D.L. Ravindra Reddy said that the high command would take a decision on the tainted Ministers in a week’s time. He did not hesitate to point out that it could also consider a change in State leadership.