Congress urges Telangana minister not to quit

Hyderabad, Jan 2 : The Congress leadership has asked an Andhra Pradesh cabinet minister not to quit over Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy having divested him of the legislative affairs portfolio.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary R.C. Kunthia rushed to Hyderabad Thursday and tried to dissuade Civil Supplies Minister D. Sridhar Babu from resigning.

The central leader advised Sridhar Babu, who hails from Telangana, 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. He later met Sridhar Babu and urged him to drop his plans to quit.

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. He also wanted to resign to lodge his protest over the chief minister's action.

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.

--IANS (Posted on 02-01-2014)

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