Miffed Andhra ministers still waiting for key portfolios

Friday, December 3, 2010

HYDERABAD - The impasse in the Andhra Pradesh cabinet continued Friday with some ministers who were unhappy with their portfolios refusing to take charge and waiting for Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy to redress their grievances.

A day after showing strong resentment over the way they were treated in the allocation of portfolios, eight senior ministers stayed away from the state secretariat.

Vatti Sanath Kumar, who sent his resignation as minister Wednesday night and stayed away from the maiden cabinet meet Thursday, indicated to his supporters that he might withdraw the resignation after a visit to Delhi. He was unhappy over the tourism portfolio as against the rural development he held earlier.

Only 10 out of 39 ministers who took oath Wednesday have so far assumed office.

Senior ministers, including Dharmana Prasada Rao (roads and buildings), Botsa Satyanarayana (transport), Ponnala Laxmaiah (information technology) J. Krishna Rao (endowments), Kanna Laxminarayana (housing) and Damodar Rajanarasimha (higher education) did not assume office.

Sources close to the ministers said they would do so only after the chief minister re-allocated portfolios in line with the assurance given to them at the cabinet meeting.

Kiran Kumar is reportedly waiting for the appointments by the Congress leadership to the posts of deputy chief minister, speaker and party state president. He is likely to reallocate business among the ministers only after the appointments to these key posts.

Damodar Rajanarasimha and a group of Dalit legislators Thursday voiced their protest over chief minister not naming his deputy.

Other ministers unhappy over what they termed insignificant portfolios complained that social justice had not been done as eight of the 11 key portfolios were given to the Reddy community. They were demanding a fair share to backward classes, the Scheduled Castes and other commnities.

Ministers from Reddy community have been given portfolios like finance, home, major irrigation, panchayat raj, municipal administration, health and power. Two from the backward classes and one from a Scheduled Caste have got major portfolios. In the earlier cabinet, only four ministers from the Reddy community were given key departments.

One legislator has openly expressed her unhappiness over not being inducted in the cabinet and said she would complain to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

G. Kutulahamma told reporters that justice was not done to her though she was elected to the assembly five times. “I was not made minister just because I am a woman Dalit leader and I don’t have money power,” she said.

Some other legislators who were not inducted and some others who were dropped from the cabinet have openly voiced their dissent.

P. Ramchandra Reddy, who was dropped from the cabinet, even predicted that Kiran Kumar will not last as chief minister beyond March 31.

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