HYDERABAD: Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy is believed to be working on a plan to have information technology minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah as state Congress president in place of Botcha Satyanarayana. If the chief minister’s plan jells, he will have Satyanarayana, who has become a thorn in the flesh, removed from a crucial position that has given him enormous powers. The other benefit that will accrue to him is that since Ponnala Lakshmaiha is a backward class leader from the Telangana region, the party high command might not, at least for the time being, contemplate changing the chief minister amidst rumours that the party is considering a Telangana leader as the next chief minister.
Of late, Kiran Kumar Reddy has made friends with many Telangana leaders of the party who stood by him after the party’s defeat in the recent byelections in the region. They came to his rescue, saying that there was no point in blaming the chief minister for the party’s electoral reverses for which no single leader could be blamed. In fact, the party leadership is also trying to endear itself to the region by giving them larger representation in the Rajya Sabha. Of the four leaders elected to the Upper House of Parliament, three are from Telangana.
Botcha Satyanarayana, who has seen the writing on the wall very clearly, has intensified his efforts to checkmate the chief minister.
According to source, he lodged a strong protest with AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad against Kiran Kumar Reddy for using the ACB to paint him as the one involved in illegal liquor trade and referred to the legal notice served by ACB inspector Ganesh on ACB SIT official Srinivas recently for “forcing him” to send a report fixing one particular leader in Vizianagaram district.
Not the one to take things lying down, Botcha called up Kiran Kumar Reddy from Delhi and challenged him to do whatever he could.