A reluctant Dharmana Prasada Rao played his role as district in-charge Minister to ensure that Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy visited the district under Indiramma Baata programme, while taking pains to clarify that he had not changed his stand.
With the CBI naming Mr.Rao in the charge-sheet on Vanpic scam in August, the Minister tendered his resignation and with that the Indiramma Baata programme could not be held in the district. The programme was cancelled twice.
District in-charge Minister
The first Indiramma Baata after successful passing of the SC/ST Sub-Plan Bill in the Assembly had to be in Visakhapatnam district where the Congress party has significant presence. This put pressure on Dharmana to play his role as district in-charge Minister without which the programme could not happen.
On his part, Mr. Rao attended in the review meeting with officials and MLAs from the district here on Thursday, but did not actively participate.
The meeting was conducted by Minister for Infrastructure, Investment and Ports Ganta Srinivas Rao, and Tribal Welfare Minister P. Balaraju.
‘Not changed my stand’
Taking pains to explain that he had not changed his stand, Mr. Rao tried to evade the issue by saying that he was attending the meeting as an MLA, and he was trying to share his experience as a senior and added that he was even staying away from his office as a Minister. However, it was apparent that he was a reluctant delegate at the review. On the other hand, both the local Ministers continued to hold that Mr. Rao was a Minister as the Cabinet had unanimously rejected his resignation. Dharmana on his part refused to be drawn into the controversy and said that as a matter of principle he would not attend office till he got a clean-chit.
He said that he continued to figure in the protocol list, as the government had not withdrawn his privileges.