Sacking of two Union Ministers propels Congress leaders to seek similar action against State Ministers facing CBI charges

Taking a cue from the sacking of two Union Ministers, a growing number of Congress leaders in the State are demanding similar action against the State Ministers facing Supreme Court notices for issuance of 26 controversial GOs during the Rajasekhara Reddy government.

A day after Union Railway Minister P.K. Bansal and Law Minister Ashwani Kumar were shown the door, there was palpable tension among the Ministers facing charges of taking decision that benefitted Kadapa MP, Y.S.Jaganmohan Reddy.

Senior Congress leader V. Hanumantha Rao and former Minister P. Shankar Rao fired the first salvo demanding that the Ministers facing notices should be sacked immediately to send the right signal to the people. Mr. Hanumantha Rao sought to know why the State leadership should not follow the example set by the Prime Minister in seeking the resignation of Mr. Bansal and Mr. Kumar in the wake of allegations against them. He said any delay in initiating action would show the Congress party in poor light.

At a press conference, Dr. Shankar Rao argued on similar lines and said: “There are a number of charges against the State Ministers. It will be in fitness of things that the Chief Minister N.Kiran Kumar Reddy acts fast and drops these ministers”.

Party sources maintained that the example shown by Centre would certainly put pressure on the Chief Minister to act against the tainted Ministers. While Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao is in jail, the names of two Ministers -- P. Sabitha Indra Reddy and Dharmana Prasada Rao -- figure in the CBI charge-sheet for issuing GOs favouring Jaganmohan Reddy. Three other Ministers -- J. Geeta Reddy, Kanna Lakshminarayana and Ponnala Lakshmaiah are also named by the SC in its notices for taking decisions during the Rajasekhara Reddy Government. Congress leaders pointed out that the leadership could not adopt double standards while dealing with the same disproportionate assets case. “On one hand, Jaganmohan Reddy is behind bars in connection with the assets case. But, the Ministers are yet to be booked in the same case,” a senior Congress leader said.

The State Cabinet itself was divided on the issue with some Ministers like D. L. Ravindra Reddy questioning the actions of the Chief Minister in backing the tainted colleagues. On the other hand, leaders like former CWC member K. Keshava Rao had dashed off a letter to the Chief Minister questioning his decision not to allow prosecution of Mr. Dharmana Rao.

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