A day ahead of broad-based meeting of Telangana Congress leaders, the differences between them widened further and they virtually split into groups and indulged in a run-in on Thursday.
The rift between housing minister N Uttam Kumar Reddy and former minister Komatireddy Venkat Reddy took a new turn on Thursday with Rajya Sabha member Palvai Govardhan Reddy fully backing the minister and senior Congress leader K Kesava Rao throwing his weight behind Komatireddy.
As Uttam Kumar Reddy is considered to be close to chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Komatireddy chief minister’s critic, the slanging match between them is now being seen as a war between the camp of the chief minister and his detractors like deputy chief minister Damodara Rajanarasimha and panchayat raj minister K Jana Reddy. Lending credence to this belief, information and public relations minister DK Aruna held a meeting with some of her close aides from her native Mahbubnagar district on the Telangana issue apparently to counter the moves of the chief minister’s detractors.
Aruna, considered to be a confidante of the chief minister, had earlier undertaken a competitive visit to Delhi along with Mahbubnagar Congress leaders to exert pressure on the high command only to checkmate Rajanarasimha and Jana Reddy who are using the Telangana issue to trouble Kiran Kumar Reddy.
WAR OF WORDS: Rajya Sabha member Palvai Govardhan Reddy, who also hails from Nalgonda district, came down heavily on Komatireddy for making allegations against the housing minister. He alleged that the Komatireddy brothers got kickbacks in every government work taken up in the district and they did not have commitment to the T cause.
Kesava Rao called on Komatireddy Venkat Reddy at his residence here and threw his weight behind him over the ongoing row. He even found fault with Uttam Kumar Reddy for allegedly using indecent language against the Komatireddy brothers.
Interestingly, Palvai lambasted Rao for visiting Komatireddy’s residence. “It is unfortunate that a senior leader like Kesava Rao called on Komatireddy. I never thought that Rao would do such a foolish thing. I will question him about his act at tomorrow’s meeting,” Palvai said.
JAIPAL’S HAND?: According to Kiran’s aides, Union minister S.Jaipal Reddy could be behind the move for Friday’s meeting as well as the growing differences between Telangana leaders divided into pro and anti-chief minister camps.
The chief minister’s camp thinks that Jaipal Reddy, waiting for a chance to teach Kiran a lesson for dragging his name in the natural gas issue during power crisis some months ago, is encouraging Kiran’s detractors like Jana Reddy. Hence the separate meeting by DK Aruna and others close to Kiran.
MEETING: Kiran Kumar Reddy’s detractors think that the Friday meeting will help them expose the duplicity of some ministers who are moving closely with the chief minister and are not active in the movement.
“The meeting is aimed at exposing the twin faces of some ministers and other leaders from the region who are in Kiran Kumar Reddy’s camp. We are eagerly waiting for them to skip tomorrow’s meeting,” a senior leader and one of the organisers of the meeting said.