Hyderabad, March 22 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh’s ruling Congress was in turmoil Thursday following its defeat in assembly by-elections with a senior cabinet minister sending his resignation to party’s central leadership while some other leaders openly targeted Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana.
A day after the results of the by-elections to seven assembly seats were declared, trouble began in the party with the detractors of both the chief minister and state party chief demanding their resignations.
Health Minister D.L. Ravindra Reddy, who had Wednesday demanded the chief minister’s resignation, triggered a virtual rebellion by sending his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, owning moral responsibility for the party’s defeat in the by-elections.
Ravindra Reddy told reporters that he had sent his resignation so that the leadership could revamp the cabinet and the party’s state unit.
In another significant development, Ravindra Reddy later called on Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, who is reportedly eyeing the chief minister’s post.
Senior Congress leaders Keshava Rao and P. Shankar Rao also openly targeted the chief minister. Keshava Rao alleged that Kiran Kumar Reddy was misleading the central leadership over Telangana issue and this led to party’s rout in the region.
Former minister and legislator Shankar Rao demanded immediate resignations of the chief minister and state Congress chief.
Interestingly, Shankar Rao also filed a petition in the high court, seeking probe by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the chief minister in the “red sander (wood) scam”.
Congress could not win a single seat in the by-elections. Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) bagged four seats, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and YSR Congress party one each while an independent was also elected. Six of the seven seats were in the Telangana region.
None of the seven seats fall under Ravindra Reddy’s Kadapa district but his resignation is seen as an attempt to mount pressure on the chief minister.
Ravindra Reddy was divested of medical education and other portfolios while Shankar Rao was dropped from the state cabinet in January.
The chief minister may come under more pressure ahead of another round of by-elections to 18 assembly seats.