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Cong leaders from Seemandhra rally behind Chiranjeevi

Several ministers and Congress MLAs who are against Reddy and PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana are drifting towards the Chiranjeevi camp.

Hyderabad |
February 20, 2014 12:44:56 am

A day after Lok Sabha passed the Telangana Bill, Congress leaders of Seemandhra propped up film-star-turned-politician K Chiranjeevi as their leader. Undeterred by the battering the Congress is taking in Seemandhra for bifurcating the state, leaders from Coastal districts said they will face elections under Chiranjeevi.

Rural Development Minister D Manikya Varaprasada Rao from Guntur accused N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who resigned as CM today, of damaging the Congress by continuing in his post till the last minute. “What is the use of resigning after everything is over? By using cricket terminology like the match is not over till the last ball is bowled, he has messed it up. I do not understand why he resigned now, he should have continued till the elections. I don’t think he is competent to launch his own party. Even if he does, I am sure nobody will go with him. And what will he say, that I was not able to prevent bifurcation so I am launching a new party? Who will join such a party?’’ Rao said.

“We don’t need leaders like Kiran Kumar Reddy. We have charismatic and capable leaders like Chiranjeevi who is respected and admired. Under his leadership we will contest the coming elections,’’ Rao said.

Reddy came under criticism from many Congress leaders and Cabinet colleagues. Endowments Minister C Ramachandraiah, a former member of the Prajarajyam Party (PRP) launched by Chiranjeevi, said the CM fooled Seemandhra leaders into believing him. “In the guise of fighting for a united state he facilitated it by doing nothing. He misled us into believing he would stall division of Andhra Pradesh. Now that everything is over, he has resigned. What purpose does it serve, except creating an image as champion of a united state? We don’t need him and I don’t think anyone is foolish enough to join him if he launches a new party,’’ Ramachandraiah said.

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Chiranjeevi also attacked Reddy. “He promised to stop bifurcation. But it happened. What did he actually do to prevent it?’’ Chiranjeevi said.

Several ministers and Congress MLAs who are against Reddy and PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana are drifting towards the Chiranjeevi camp.

Reddy, who called a press meet to announce his resignation Wednesday morning had earlier called a meeting of MLAs and MLCs including Cabinet Ministers. However, of the 21 ministers from Seemandhra, only eight attended, while 16 Congress MLAs and five MLCs were present. Although the CM was disappointed that most ministers and MLAs had deserted him, he decided to meet the press flanked by the few ministers and MLAs loyal to him.

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Sources said while Reddy is out of contention, most Congress leaders in coastal districts are wary of PCC chief Botsa, whose image has taken a beating in his native Vizianagaram district. Botsa is MLA from Cheepuripalle and his wife is MP from Vizianagaram. Botsa’s brother and nephew too are MLAs from neighbouring constituencies. The family is being accused of land-grabbing, running a liquor mafia and holding Vizianagaram district in their grip. “There is brainstorming on to formulate a strategy to salvage Congress prospects in Seemandhra, especially in nine coastal districts. At some point, maybe Chiranjeevi and Botsa will come together as both belong to similar caste,’’ a Congress MLA said.

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First published on: 20-02-2014 at 12:44:56 am

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