Television channels draw flak
As the political developments in the State began hotting up, the Congress government was forced to issue a denial of reports that Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy was being replaced by the party high command.
These reports were a consequence of the meeting the Telangana MPs had with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi and the latter's reported briefing to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Ridiculing the media reports, Minister for Panchayat Raj K. Jana Reddy termed them “baseless, imaginary and without an iota of truth”. “Will the party high command change guard for every three days?” he shot back, after emerging from a meeting with the Chief Minister in the Secretariat. In New Delhi, AICC spokesperson Janardhan Dwivedi described the reports as “absolute rubbish”.
He blamed television channels for creating “unnecessary confusion” among the people. Mr. Reddy was among those identified by these channels as among the three probables to replace the Chief Minister. Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy and Congress MLA N. Uttam Kumar Reddy were the other two.
Mr. Reddy said his name would always figure prominently in political circles in the State, but “the post of Chief Minister is not vacant”. He asserted that the Kiran Kumar Reddy government would remain in office for the next three and half years. Any talk of change of guard without finding a solution to the Telangana tangle was meaningless.
Separately, Minister for Cooperation Kasu Krishna Reddy described the talk of “the government collapse” among political circles as “wishful thinking”.
In a related development, the Chief Minister and Praja Rajyam president K. Chiranjeevi separately called on Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan at the Raj Bhavan.
The Chief Minister is reported to have discussed a range of issues, including the participation of two Ministers in the meeting of Telangana MPs and MLAs and the outburst of Congress MP Madhu Yashki against the Srikrishna Committee members. Mr. Kiran also reviewed the law and order situation in Osmania Unversity.
These meetings assumed significance in the light of nearly two dozen Congress MLAs joining the fast by former MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy in New Delhi.
Mr. Chiranjeevi, who was closeted with Mr. Narasimhan for about 30 minutes, said in reply to a question that he would extend support to the Congress government in the interests of the State. He, however, claimed that the purpose of the meeting was only to extend Sankranti greetings.
Seven MLAs of the MIM had called on Chief Minister on Wednesday, ostensibly to assure their party's support.