Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddys veiled threat to his ministers and MLAs to either perform or perish claimed its first victims when two ministers offered to resign after Congress candidates lost the zilla parishad territorial constituency (ZPTC) bypolls to the TDP.
Agricultural Marketing and Warehousing Minister M Mareppa and Lift Irrigation Minister Maganti Venkateshwara Rao took responsibility for the poor performance of the party in Alur in Kurnool District and Dindalur in West Godavari District and sent in their resignation letters to the CM late Friday night.
The results of the bypolls held in seven ZPTCs on December 30 were announced on Friday. Both the Congress and the TDP won three seats each while one seat was won by an independent candidate.
Though the ministers quit after accepting moral responsibility for the loss in the seemingly inconsequential local polls,sources said that the main reason behind their hasty resignations was something else. The CM is learnt to have hinted to both of them that if they did not nurture their constituencies well,they could end up not getting tickets in the forthcoming elections. The CM had warned both the ministers a few months ago that they were losing touch with their constituencies and that they should start making frequent tours. The ZPTC bypoll results are a clear indication that both ministers failed to perform, a Congress leader said.
Sensing that he may not get a ticket this time,M Venkareshwara Rao was making efforts to join the Praja Rajyam Party and was waiting for an opportunity to quit the Congress. M Mareppa had fallen out with the CM,APCC president D Srinivas and senior Congress leaders over his outbursts on Telangana recently. Mareppa had said creation of a separate Telangana state will only benefit real estate developers and that TRS leaders were foolish to think about a separate state. The CM and the Congress stepped in to contain the damage,as besides the TRS,several pro-Telangana leaders took objection to his statements.