The gulf between chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and four of his cabinet colleagues _ P.Sabita Indra Reddy, J Geetha Reddy, Kanna Lakshminarayana and Ponnala Lakshmaiah _ seems to be widening with each passing day.
The government’s stance on the charges levelled against former minister Mopidevi Venkataramana Rao and roads and buildings minister Dharmana Prasada Rao in the CBI’s chargesheet is keeping the four tensed up. It is learnt that the chief minister has not given any assurance to the four ministers that the government will bail them out. The four had received Supreme Court notices on issuance of 26 GOs during the regime of YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
Sources said that the four ministers, after holding a meeting in the chamber of Geetha Reddy at the Assembly on Tuesday, called up the chief minister, who was at Tirupati, and sought an assurance from him that the government would come to their rescue since they had issued the GOs with cabinet approval.
In the wake of the summons issued by the CBI court to Dharmana, the four ministers, who are apprehending that they too would meet the same fate, are understood to have asked the chief minister to order some inquiry to look into the decisions taken by the YSR cabinet. But they did not get any specific assurance from Kiran Kumar Reddy. The four ministers sought an appointment with the chief minister to present their case in a more assertive manner. They also decided to seek the support of their cabinet colleagues to mount pressure on the chief minister to extend political and legal support to them.
Talking to Express, Sabita said they were innocent and they had issued the GOs with the approval of the then cabinet and it was not appropriate for the CBI to fault them. On the other hand, sources close to the chief minister said that he was not ready to intervene in the matter which is sub judice. Whether it is Dharmana’s case or something else, any intervention at this juncture may damage the government’s image, a close aide of the chief minister felt.