Normally, Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary should be a good occasion for Congress leaders to reaffirm their commitment to strengthen the party. But, they were in for an embarrassment in the state, when the rumblings in the Congress only became louder on the occasion.
It began with a controversy kicked off by a letter purportedly written by Union minister for Tribal Affairs and Panchayati Raj V Kishore Chandra Suryanarayana Deo to the party high command allegedly against Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Botcha Satyanarayana and Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy.
A section of media claimed that Deo had, in his purported letter, alleged that Botcha was a liquor mafia don and Kiran Reddy was an ineffective chief minister and hence he wanted the high command to replace both of them to save the party in the state.
However, Deo denied the reports that he had written a letter to the AICC leadership against the chief minister and the APCC chief. “I have not written any letter to the party high command in the past five months. Moreover, if I want to say something, I will say it openly. It is not in my habit to write secret letters,” said Kishore Deo. Asked about the differences between the chief minister and the APCC chief, Deo said the party’s situation in Andhra Pradesh was known to everybody.
Interestingly, APCC chief Botcha and Deo are from same Vizianagaram district in North Andhra region. Even though Deo has denied that he had written any letter, Botcha’s camp strongly believe that the Union minister complained against the chief minister and the APCC chief.
Botcha at first said that he did not think Deo would ever write such type of letters. later, while talking to some of his confidants he alleged that Deo had leaked the letter to the media only to tarnish his and chief minister’s image.
According to the close aides of the APCC chief, Deo had written that letter one year ago. But, the minister now intentionally leaked the letter to the media only to embarrass Botcha and Kiran Reddy.
Meanwhile, Botcha, who claims to have helped Deo win from Araku in the 2009 general elections, is understood to be upset that Deo had no ‘gratitude’ for him. “Though he had been there for a long time, he was a nobody. In the last elections, I helped him win from Araku,” APCC chief reportedly said to his confidants.
The APCC president has mobilised support from north Andhra ministers Shatrucharla Vijayaramaraju and Ganta Srinivasa Rao who disapproved of the Union minister writing a letter to the party president against Botcha and Kiran Reddy.
It seems Deo’s letter to the Congress high command have not only helped Kiran Reddy and Botcha bury the hatchet but also made the two warring groups to launch a joint verbal attack on the Union minister.
Kiran Reddy’s confidant and Labour Minister Danam Nagender fired salvos at the Union minister. Talking to reporters, Nagender heaped choicest abuses on Deo. “As a Union minister Deo did nothing for the state. He has been confining himself to Delhi and not available to even people of his constituency. For his selfish ends he is trying to mislead the party high command,” he said.
Botcha and Deo have been at dagger’s drawn for several years. “Deo has been unhappy with the state government for seeking permissions from the Centre to take up bauxite mining in Vizianagaram district, which will affect the livelihood of tribal families there,” said a leader close to the APCC chief.
Even as rival parties are preparing to win the predicted early polls for Lok Sabha, the Congress party in Andhra Pradesh is yet unable to prevent infightings among its seniors.
- Sunday Standard