Six Seemaandhra ministers, who had resigned in protest of the Congress’s Working Committee resolution to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, on Friday skipped the first cabinet meet of Kiran Kumar Reddy government since the Telangana decision.
However, the two and half hour meet on Friday went off well as the Telangana issue, the subject of discussion everywhere in the state, did not arise in Hyderabad.
The ministers - Erasu Prathap Reddy, TG Venkatesh, Galla Aruna, C Ramachandraiah and Md Ahmadullah from Rayalaseema and Ghanta Srinivasa Rao from Coastal Andhra abstained from the meet held after a gap of two months.
Though about 15 ministers from the Seemaandhra region submitted their resignations none of these were accepted by the chief minister Reddy.
“We chose to keep away as we have not received any assurance from the centre over our concerns on bifurcation. And we thought it would be unethical to attend the cabinet after submitting resignations,” Prathap Reddy told HT.
However, the cabinet meet exposed that all Seemaandhra ministers are not on same level in their protest against state’s division. Some ministers like S Sailajanath, Kasu Krishna Reddy who had also resigned chose to attend the meet.
“We felt our presence would strengthen the CM’s position in the cabinet and as we had to represent the interests of the agitating government employees. Anyway, we attended as our resignations were not accepted,” Sailajanath said.
Though the united Andhra agitators are demanding resignations of all ministers, there are some like Raghuveera Reddy who stated resignations as ineffective in stalling Telangana formation.
Nevertheless, the ministers in attendance faced protests within the Secretariat complex with the striking Seemaandhra officials blocking their exit.
Interestingly, all the Telangana ministers barring two attended the meet. Some of these ministers especially deputy chief minister Damodara Rajanarasimha was extremely critical of Reddy’s united Andhra Pradesh position.
Minister Geetha Reddy, who is recently named by the CBI in relation to YSRCP leader Jaganmohan Reddy’s disproportionate assets case, and Danam Nagendar, who is abroad, did not join the cabinet.
The cabinet took decisions like expansion of Vijayawada Airport, notification of jobs and opening of new polytechnic colleges.
Meanwhile, the Samaikhyandhra agitators including employees, students and workers held a massive rally in Vijayawada on Friday – the 52nd day of protests - to keep the state united.