How long will Kiran Kumar Reddy's smile last?

19 Aug, 2012 16:21 IST|Sakshi
How long will Kiran Kumar Reddy's smile last?

The Kiran Kumar Reddy cabinet is getting  increasingly embroiled in a web of legal tangles that it may find difficult to extricate itself from, with the names of several ministers being included in several cases and chargesheets  filed  by the CBI.

It appears that the legal quagmire into which the ministers have been dragged by the CBI makes it very tricky for the ministers to continue in the cabinet. Worse, their arrest becomes imminent.

It all began with the Transport minister and PCC chief, Botsa Satyanarayana, who is facing grave allegations in connection with the liquor syndicate scam. He is alleged to have close links with the liquor syndicate and the names of many of his relatives have cropped up from time to time in this scandal.

Other ministers have come under the CBI scanner for issuing the 26 controversial Government Orders.

Major Industries Minister,  J Geeta Reddy, Information Technology Minister, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Agriculture Minister, Kanna Lakshminarayana are now bracing themselves for a legal battle in the Supreme Court with regard to the issuance of the 26 controversial GOs. Two other ministers, Mopidevi Venkataramana and Dharmana Prasada Rao have already named in the chargesheet by the CBI.

Another cabinet colleague of the Chief Minister, Secondary Education Minister, K Parthasarathy, enjoys the dubious distinction of having been sentenced to two months' simple imprisonment by the AP High  Court in a 13-year-old case of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violation.

Tourism minister Vatti Vasanth Kumar got into a scrap over protocol issues with Denduluru MLA Chintamaneni Prabhakara Rao of the TDP during a Rachchabanda show in November last year. The TDP MLA allegedly punched the minister in the stomach and received a tight slap in exchange. A case was booked against Vatti Vasanth Kumar under sections 323 and 506 of the IPC based on the complaint given by the TDP MLA.

Yet another Minister, who holds the portfolio of Law in the state government, Erasu Prathap Reddy was named in the cash-for-bail scam involving a judge of a lower court.

Among the latest to join the long list of ministers on the wrong side of the law is the Labour Minister, Danam Nagender, who was booked last week under many sections of the IPC for locking up the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple on Road number 12 in the posh Banjara Hills area and for abusing policemen.

How has the Chief Minister been responding to all the legal wrangles his cabinet colleagues are mired in? So far he has spoken very little on any of these subjects, because perhaps he knows that in most cases he would be defending the indefensible.

All this is leading to a lot of speculation in his own party about his leadership  and the disconnect between him and many of his party men, including his cabinet colleagues. In fact, some feel that he is using the CBI’s chargesheets and threat of imminent arrests as a political weapon against his colleagues.  They say that the Chief Minister cannot even trust his own shadow.

A large number of senior party men have their daggers out, ready to strike at the opportune hour. For the moment they choose to remain silent. Many top leaders from the Congress party including Deputy CM, Cilarapu Damodar Raja Narasimha, Panchayati Raj Minister K Jana Reddy, Revenue Minister, Dharmana Prasada Rao and Health Minister D L Ravindra Reddy, among others have held closed-door meetings with PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana on more than one occasion.  It is believed that D L Ravindra Reddy had also visited Delhi to meet the Congress top brass on this subject.

Sources said that the high command summoned the APCC president on receiving his report to discuss the implications of accepting the resignation of Dharmana and other issues. Leaders from the Srikakulam district plan to visit Delhi in a day or two to meet senior AICC functionaries and their visit might coincide with that of  APCC president Botcha Satyanarayana, who considers himself to be a colossus from the same region. The APCC chief is scheduled to visit Delhi on Tuesday and it remains to be seen as to what the high command’s reaction to the developments in A.P. would be. Yet, it cannot be denied that the Congress leadership has only itself to blame for the entire mess.

Meanwhile, Kiran Kumar Reddy is going about his Indiramma Baata programme, unfazed by all the developments. For how long he will continue to wear his weary smile is a question that political adversaries in his own party are asking. Who knows when the music will stop in this round of musical chairs and when he would have to get off his (high) horse?

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