What seemed to be a fresh rebellion in the Andhra Pradesh unit of the Congress over allocation of ministerial portfolios on Thursday weakened considerably by late evening.
Minister Vatti Vasanth Kumar, who was unhappy with the tourism portfolio assigned to him by chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, refused to take back his resignation despite vigorous efforts to persuade him to stay on (he however clarified that he would remain a Congress MLA).
But five other ministers who threatened to follow suit as they were upset with the “inconsequential” portfolios allotted to them abandoned any plans to quit the cabinet.
Apparently some tough talking by senior leaders from Delhi had a calming effect on their rebellious stand. The names of some of these ministers figure in the list of most-tainted politicians brought out by main opposition Telugu Desam Party and a reminder of this perhaps had a sobering effect.
So, when the state cabinet met in the evening, all the ministers except Kumar showed up. The meeting was over in 15 minutes and no one raised any issue. Botsa Satyanarayana, one of the disgruntled ministers told mediapersons after the cabinet meeting that they had conveyed their viewpoints to the party’s central leaders and would await the decision. He however reiterated that injustice had been done to the backward classes and that should be rectified. In the breakaway camp led by the Late YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s son Jaganmohan Reddy, there was hectic acitivity whole day.
Several ministers from the outgoing cabinet who not taken on board by the new chief minister called on Jagan at his residence in the posh Banjara Hills locality. So did many Congress MLAs. The chief spokesperson of the group, Ambati Rambabu, later announced that Jagan would soon launch his political party and invited all those unhappy with the new CM to leave the Congress and join the soon-to-be-launched party.