HYDERABAD: For those whose egos have been bruised by chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, the destination these days is the Banjara Hills residence of Botcha Satyanarayana. The PCC prez is emerging as trouble shooter, temper soother and alternative power centre all rolled into one. On Wednesday, three wounded leaders drove to his open house or called him on the phone to pour out their woes. They were: Health minister D L Ravindra Reddy, prohibition and excise minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana and deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha.
The most vocal of them was Ravindra Reddy, whose wings were clipped in the latest cabinet induction. Throughout Wednesday, the doctor minister belched fire at Kiran Kumar for stripping him of the medical education portfolio and giving it to new boy K Murali Mohan.
Ravindra Reddy met Stayanarayana and conveyed to him how he felt: "It was like driving a knife into you and then turning the blade." He contemplated resigning but Botcha held his hand. They both consulted high command leaders and Ravindra abandoned his idea of quitting.
After the meeting with Satyanarayana, Ravindra Reddy drove to the Congress Legislature Party office where he called Kiran Kumar. He described as a white lie the chief minister's explanation that the trimming was aimed at administrative convenience. Naming no one, Ravindra also supplied the saying that there are leaders aplenty in the Congress who take suitcases full of money to Chennai, Bombay and Delhi and buy themselves positions of power.
Rajanarasimha used the telephone to convey to the PCC president his feelings at being trimmed of the agriculture portfolio. The deputy CM has been gnashing his teeth at the chief minister for quite some time now and used P Shankar Rao's sacking to dub the Kiran Kumar antiDalit.
Mopidevi's mission to Botcha had little to do with portfolios. Named by a liquor syndicate figure as the recipient of a bribe of `10 lakh as protection money, Ramana, sources said, suspects that without the clearance of the chief minister, the AntiCorruption Bureau would not have retained the reference to him in the remand diary. Venkata Ramana is yelling blue murder but was careful not to say openly that the chief minister done him dirty.
Satyanarayana soothed Venkata Ramana's feathers and reportedly promised help. "If Kiran is doing what he is doing in order to keep us under his thumb, then he is mistaken. No one will take things lying down," said one minister.