Andhra Pradesh's main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) demanded the resignation of Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy after the Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed the pardon granted last year to a ruling party leader, convicted in a double murder case, by the then state governor.
TDP president and leader of opposition N Chandrababu Naidu said former state governor and current union Minister Sunilkumar Shinde should also quit as the pardon was granted purely on political considerations.
The court ruled that religious and political considerations should not come into play while considering remission of sentences.
The quashing of the pardon has embarrassed the ruling party. State Congress president K Keshava Rao and other leaders declined to comment on the verdict.
G Venkata Reddy, husband of Congress legislator G Charita Reddy, was released on August 15 last year, following the remission of the sentence by the governor.
The relatives of victims, both activists of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), had challenged the governor's action in the Supreme Court.
Rajasekhara Reddy had created a controversy during the 2004 Assembly election campaign, when he visited Venkata Reddy in prison. Soon after he became the chief minister, his government granted parole to Venkata Reddy.
The pardon followed a mercy petition filed by the convict's wife, a Congress member of the state assembly from Nandikotkur and a known loyalist of Rajasekhara Reddy.
Venkata Reddy, who is likely to be re-arrested following the court orders, said he would decide the future course of action after studying the court verdict.
After the news of the verdict, TDP activists staged a protest in front of Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the governor.
Tension prevailed as the party activists suddenly appeared in the high security area and began demonstration.
Protesters burnt an effigy of the chief minister and shouted slogans demanded his resignation. Police arrested the activists for staging the protest without permission.