Andhra Congress poised for a purge
The Congress high command appears to have finally got down to the task of cleaning up the mess in Andhra Pradesh. Strong indications to this effect were available on a day of fast-paced developments in Delhi where both chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC president Botcha Satyanarayana were camping.
Though the immediate question being addressed is the resignation of minister Dharmana Prasada Rao, Congress circles are abuzz with speculation that the central leadership is moving towards a sweeping clean-up exercise.
Kiran Kumar Reddy had a long meeting with Union minister A K Antony and then followed it up with a 90- minute session with AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad.
MPs and other senior leaders simultaneously held a separate meeting at the residence of Union minister S Jaipal Reddy, whose interest in state politics is too well known.
While Dharmana’s fate appears more or less sealed, the purge may not end with him. Though there is no certainty yet on what the high command’s plans are, Congressmen are discussing the possibility of a change of leadership both in the government and party.
According to sources, the central leadership is mulling various options. They are: a) changing the PCC president but retaining the chief minister; b) having new men in both posts; c) dropping all the ministers who are facing charges in the Jagan Mohan Reddy case and allowing Kiran Kumar Reddy to have a new Cabinet; and d) have a completely new-look cabinet by replacing the chief minister too.
What course it will finally adopt is not clear but what is not being disputed is that Delhi is upset over the way the Congress image has taken a beating in Andhra Pradesh thanks to a running feud between the chief minister and the PCC president and a divided Cabinet.
Union minister M M Pallam Raju, former PCC president D Srinivas and minister Uttam Kumar Reddy are among those whose names are said to be under consideration in the event of a changes in the PCC and the government.
Party insiders suggested that the changes being contemplated will be implemented around the time the ongoing Parliament session comes to a close in the Krishnapatnam Ultra Mega Power Project first week of September.