HYDERABAD: AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad, who arrived in Hyderabad last night to bring about rapprochement between feuding chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC president Botcha Satyanarayana, made little progress in his mission. Kiran and Botcha are at loggerheads for quite sometime now.
Though Azad presided over the maiden meeting of the Congress Coordination Committee and discussed political issues faced by the party, including by-elections in Telangana and Coastal Andhra, and cabinet expansion, the yawning gap between the two leaders was not lost on the Delhi leader.
According to sources, Azad, using gentle words, made the chief minister understand the need to discuss his ideas in the party fora and involve party cadres and leaders.
Azad would be convening the next meeting of the committee on January 21 and made it clear that all the Congress Coordination Committee meetings would be presided only by him. This apparently must have caused heart burn to the chief minister who finds his wings clipped with the constitution of the committee where he is in a way expected to give explanation for whatever he does as chief minister.
Azad is understood to have told the chief minister that all the schemes that the government was implementing and those on the anvil have to be necessarily discussed at the coordination committee meetings. Only after a thorough discussion would there be a policy pronouncement.
Then, the party would be asked to organise field-level meetings and melas to popularise the schemes. The import of this rule is clear: The credit for any scheme that is announced would go to the party and not to any individual. The Congress apparently is keen on toeing this line after burning its fingers with YS Rajasekhara Reddy.Azad met the chief minister and Botcha at the Lake View Guest House and asked them as to how they were getting along and tried to reason with them not to forget that the party should not suffer because of the differences between them. Health minister DL Ravindra Reddy, who was also not on good terms with the chief minister, told mediapersons that he had told Azad what had to be said. “I have brought to his notice everything in detail,” he said and left.
Chiranajeevi, who was seething inwardly against the Congress for not obliging his request for inclusion of his MLAs in Kiran cabinet, also attended the meeting but was late by about 20 minutes. Chiranjeevi was reported to have met Azad separately and explained to him how he and his MLAs were feeling over the way the Congress was treating them even though he merged his party with the Congress in February itself and rescued Kiran Kumar Reddy government from no-confidence motion in the Assembly on December 5.
Chiranjeevi’s letter to the chief minister a few days ago advising him not to bank on revenues from sale of liquor to run the state and to take up a campaign against consumption of liquor in the wake of hooch tragedy in Krishna district,was considered his way of rebelling against Kiran Kumar Reddy for ignoring him and his MLAs.
Support came for Chiranjeevi from Botcha Stayanarayana for writing the letter to the chief minister. He said he supported Chiranjeevi’s contention that liquor consumption should be brought down. “ I support every word of Chiranjeevi,” Botcha said. This is seen as a sign of strengthening the bond between him and Chiranjeevi.
When Azad drove to Gandhi Bhavan on Thursday morning, scales, if any, fell from his eyes as supporters of Botcha came to him and began blaming Kiran Kumar Reddy for what they see as lack of coordination between the government and the party.
While one said Congress workers were better off during the TDP rule than now, others said Kiran never bothered about the party. Then there were Kiran supporters going for his rescue.
They met Azad and told him the villain of the piece was Botcha and not the chief minister. Groups of Ki ran’ s suppor ter s fanned out on the premises of Gandhi Bhavan and kept raising slogans in support of Kiran Kumar Reddy.