Andhra Pradesh State Cabinet revamp on Kiran Kumar Reddy's agenda during Delhi visit

Andhra Pradesh State Cabinet revamp on Kiran Kumar Reddy's agenda during Delhi visit

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Hyderabad:  Getting the Congress high command's approval for revamp of the state council of ministers will be top on Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy's agenda when he visits New Delhi on May 30.

The Chief Minister is visiting the national capital for a meeting with the officials of the Planning Commission. But he is expected to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and other leaders to discuss the Cabinet revamp issue.

As the state heads for elections next year, filling up the existing vacancies as well as those caused by the recent resignation of two "tainted" ministers has become inevitable as crucial departments remain headless.

Besides, Mr Reddy wants his men to be inducted so as to "neutralise" the dissidence within the Cabinet.

If the high command gives its green signal, the Cabinet rejig is expected to take place in the first week of June before the budget session of the state legislature resumes or will have to be delayed till the third week when the session concludes.

State Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy and Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao quit the Cabinet after they were charge-sheeted in the illegal assets case of Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.

Their resignations were finally accepted on Sunday and the two portfolios were allotted to the Chief Minister.

The demand for removal of at least three other ministers Ponnala Lakshmaiah, J Geeta Reddy and Kanna Lakshminarayana, who are also under the CBI scanner in illegal assets case, is growing not only from the Opposition, but also from many in the ruling party.

"These three ministers will also have to go as per the party's policy (against corruption)," Guntur MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao said on Tuesday.

With the CBI about to file more charge-sheets in the cases related to Jagan, the three ministers are likely to figure in them going by the investigation so far. In the event, the charge-sheeted ministers' exit becomes inevitable.

The Chief Minister would discuss all these aspects with the high command and get necessary directions on how to go about the exercise, party sources indicated.

The Chief Minister will first discuss the issue with AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who returns from a foreign trip on the 29th.

After this, they are expected to confer with Sonia Gandhi for a final decision, the sources added.

Crucial departments like Commercial Taxes, Excise and Power are running without a minister for years now.

According to party sources, the Chief Minister wants ministers D L Ravindra Reddy (Health) and C Ramachandraiah (Endowments), to be removed from the cabinet.

However, removing Mr Ramachandraiah from the Cabinet may not be easy as he enjoys the support of Union Minister K Chiranjeevi, Congress sources pointed out.

Similarly, Ravindra Reddy is one of the senior-most Congress legislators, who enjoys good clout with the high command.

Deputy Chief Minister C Damodara Rajanarasimha, who is not on good terms with the Chief Minister, has been seeking to get the Home portfolio for long and he now has a clear opportunity to press for it.

The Chief Minister wants the party high command to take a call on Pradesh Congress Committee president Botsa Satyanarayana, who is also the Transport Minister.

Mr Reddy wants the one-man-one-post principle applied to Mr Botsa so that he could ease the latter out of the Cabinet as nothing is cordial between the two.

On his part, Mr Botsa announced that he would prefer the party post over the Cabinet position.

So far none of the members of AP Legislative Council, barring Mr Ramachandraiah, have been inducted into the Cabinet.

There are many MLCs like D Srinivas and Md Ali Shabbir aspiring for Cabinet berths.

However, the decision in this regard would be taken by the high command.

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