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Andhra minister quits after losing key portfolio


Hyderabad, Jan 2 :

Andhra Pradesh minister D. Sridhar Babu, who hails from Telangana, Thursday resigned to protest the move of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy divesting him of the legislative affairs portfolio.

Despite advice by All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary R.C. Kunthia not to quit, Sridhar Babu, who held the civil supplies portfolio, Thursday night sent his resignation to the chief minister.

D Sridhar Babu
D Sridhar Babu

He took the decision after consulting his followers.

Earlier, Kunthia who rushed to Hyderabad to resolve the crisis, met Sridhar Babu and advised him not to take any hasty step as this could stall the debate over the Telangana bill in the state assembly, scheduled to start Friday, party sources said.

Immediately after landing in Hyderabad, the AICC secretary called on senior minister from Telangana K. Jana Reddy. Several ministers and party leaders from Telangana met Kunthia and complained against the “undemocratic” action of the chief minister.

Kiran Reddy Tuesday divested Sridhar Babu of the legislative affairs portfolio and handed it to Primary Education Minister S. Sailajanath, who is from Seemandhra and strongly opposed to formation of a separate Telangana state.

Ministers from Telangana reacted angrily to this move and complained to Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan. They alleged that it was a conspiracy by the chief minister to stall formation of Telangana state.

The chief minister took the action two days ahead of the debate in the assembly on Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2013, sent by President Pranab Mukherjee for its views.

Sridhar Babu has refused to accept the commercial taxes portfolio, allotted to him by the chief minister in lieu of legislative affairs.

Kiran Reddy, who is opposed to the state’s bifurcation, was reportedly unhappy with Sridhar Babu over the manner in which he supported the Telangana bill.

The chief minister, while defending his move, said that as he was unable to focus on commercial taxes department, he wanted to allocate the portfolio to a minister.