Two Andhra Pradesh cabinet ministers have resigned, owning moral responsibility for the defeat of the ruling Congress party in by-elections to local bodies.
Minister for marketing M Mareppa and minister for minor irrigation M. Venkateswara Rao sent their resignations to Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy Friday night. The chief minister accepted the resignations and forwarded them to state governor ND Tiwari for his approval.
The ministers resigned following the defeat of party candidates in local body elections in their respective assembly constituencies. While Mareppa quit following the defeat of Congress party nominee in the by-elections to Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency (ZPTC) in Alur in Kurnool district, Rao put in his papers owning moral responsibility for the party's defeat in Denduluru ZPTC in West Godavari district.
Both the seats were won by the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Results of the by-polls to seven ZPTCs were announced Friday.
The Congress party also lost one ZPTC in Nizamabad, the native district of party president D. Srinivas. However, it won back two seats earlier held by TDP. Both the principal parties shared the honours, while one independent supported by the Praja Rajyam party of Chiranjeevi was also elected.
The ruling party took a serious note of the defeat in the ZPTCs falling in the assembly constituencies of two ministers. Three or more ZPTCs constitute one assembly constituency.
The Congress party felt that there should be accountability for the defeat and that the ministers who can't ensure the party's win in local body elections should not continue in their posts, especially at a time when the party is gearing up for assembly elections.
The chief minister accepted the ministers' resignations after consultations with D. Srinivas and All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Veerappa Moily, who is in charge of the party affairs in the state.
The Congress party, however, swept the by-elections to 49 Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies (MPTCs) or village level local bodies. It bagged 31 seats while the TDP got only nine.