Speculation on change of guard keeps leaders on tenterhooks

Congress leaders are eagerly awaiting their high command’s moves to clear confusion about the future of the State party amid animated discussions about possible change of guard and the fate of the separate Telangana issue.

Against this background, Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarsimha, Health Minister D.L. Ravindra Reddy, Panchayat Raj Minister K. Jana Reddy and Backward Classes Welfare Minister Basavaraj Saraiah called on Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Botcha Satyanarayana at his residence on Thursday.

Their discussions reportedly centred round speculation about change of leadership although there was no firm basis for such speculation in the absence of any indications from the All India Congress Committee leaders.

On the Telangana issue, the central leaders are indeed engaged in exploring various options.

If it decides against bifurcation of the State, it may go in for a political-cum-development package.

This would mean installing a Congress leader from Telangana as the Chief Minister and, consequently, naming a new Pradesh Congress Committee president from the Seemandhra region, keeping the caste factor in mind.

On the development side, the package may include national project status for Pranahita Chevella project.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) president K. Chandrasekhar Rao evidently has indications about the line of thinking of the Congress leadership, more so in the wake of some candid statements by functionaries like Vayalar Ravi and Ghulam Nabi Azad that a decision on the Telangana issue may take more time.

He gave vent to his frustration at the Telangana Rashtra Samitis’ Polit Bureau meeting at Karimnagar on Thursday when he said Telangana State was unlikely to become a reality until after the 2014 general elections.

Although no All India Congress Committee leader worth the name has even hinted about change of guard and some like Vayalar Ravi have even vehemently denied it, the names of National Disaster Management Authority vice-chairman Marri Sashidhar Reddy and former Pradesh Congress Committee chief D. Srinivas are frequently surfacing in a section of the media as possible replacements.

The two leaders are camping in New Delhi lobbying for the coveted post.

Dark horse

For the Pradesh Congress Committee chief’s post, names of Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy and Major Industries Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana are said to be under consideration.

Congress MP Kavuri Sambasiva Rao could be the dark horse for the chief’s post if the All India Congress Committee chooses to placate him.

Kiran drops plans

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy dropped his plans to visit the national Capital in connection with the party’s meeting at Surajkund in Haryana on November 9 and 10.

  • Names of Sashidhar Reddy, DS for change of guard surfacing in a section of media

  • Rajanarsimha, DL, Jana Reddy and Saraiah hold discussions with PCC president