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New Andhra CM faces revolt, one minister quits

New Andhra CM faces revolt, one minister quits

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh new chief minister Nallari Kiran Kumar Reddy is facing his first crisis with the senior minister Vatti Vasantha Kumar resigning to both minister and legislator posts protesting allotment of insignificant ministerial portfolio.

Vasantha Kumar, who was in limelight as rural development minister in the last Cabinet when he tried to rein in microfinance institutions through promulgating an ordinance, said he was unhappy with the insignificant tourism portfolio given to him this time.

Also Read Andhra CM expands Cabinet, sends strong signals to rebels

Fresh trouble appears to be brewing for the chief minister with many ministers, most of them belonging to the backward classes, likely to follow suit.

The chief minister, who had kept the names of the ministers close to his chest till Wednesday morning, announced the list just before the swearing in ceremony at Raj Bhavan at around 10 am. The portfolios to the ministers were announced on Wednesday night post 9pm.

The Congress party’s strategy to accommodate significant number of Reddys, a dominant community in the State among the legislators, to checkmate rebel Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, seems to have backfired.

Jagan, a parliament member from Kadapa, had resigned to party membership and MP post on Monday accusing the Congress central leadership of humiliating and maligning his family and his late father.

Of the 39 member Cabinet announced by Kiran Kumar Reddy on Wednesday morning, 14 belonged to Reddy community, translating into 36% of the Cabinet.

Among the Reddys, while Anam Ramanarayana Reddy was given finance, N. Raghuveera Reddy got revenue, Geetha Reddy was allotted heavy industries, Sabitha Indra Reddy secured home and K. Jana Reddy obtained panchayat raj portfolios.

“Many of the backward class ministers are of the view that they were given insignificant portfolios while Reddys, including those who were taken into the Cabinet afresh, were allotted plum portfolios," said a minister belonging to backward classes representing state capital, who did not want to be named.

He said many of the unhappy senior ministers had an emergency meeting last night at the minister’s quarters in Hyderabad and decided to lodge their protest both before the chief minister and the party central leadership.

Many of these non-Reddy ministers who had enjoyed plum portfolios in the last Cabinet include Vatti Vasantha Kumar, Dharmana Prasada Rao, Botsa Satyanarayana, Ponnala Laxmaiah, Danam Nagender and Mukesh Goud among others.

“Most of these ministers, who had discussed the issue of undue significance given to Reddys with plum portfolios and insignificant portfolios to them this time, have favored abstaining from the first Cabinet meeting scheduled for Thursday evening," the said same minister quoted above.

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